Daily Host Nation Update January 7, 2021
Germany is currently under strict lockdown restrictions, which include curfews.
Click here for details on how the Baden-Württemberg ordinance impacts the USAG Stuttgart community.
RKI reports 26,391 new infections and 1,070 additional fatalities
German health authorities have reported 26,391 new Corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. In addition, 1,070 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours, the RKI announced this morning. According to the report, the peak of 1,129 new deaths was reached on December 30. The highest number of new infections registered within 24 hours, 33,777, was reported on December 18 – but this included 3,500 subsequent reports. The holidays impacted how and when data was reported. (Robert Koch Institute, January 7)
Ryanair cuts flight schedule even more drastically
Due to the new lockdowns in Ireland, the UK and some other EU countries, Ryanair is cutting its flight offerings even further. Europe’s largest low-cost carrier plans to offer few, if any, flights to and from British and Irish airports from the end of the month. This will apply until the tough travel restrictions are lifted, the Irish company said. However, management does not expect the new flight cancellations to significantly alter its expected net loss for the fiscal year, as the company would have lost money on many of these flights anyway. (Ntv, January 7)
North Rhine-Westphalia records more Corona deaths than ever before
At midweek, North Rhine-Westphalia recorded by far the highest number of daily reported virus deaths in NRW. By midnight, health authorities registered 261 more deaths related to Corona infection within 24 hours. The previous daily high had been reported yesterday, Wednesday, with 236 deaths. In total, the most populous state thus counts 7507 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, the offices reported 6,043 newly detected Sars-CoV-2 infections, which is the fourth highest value. Thus, the total number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections in NRW to date is now 415,032. According to the authorities’ estimates, 346,900 people are considered to have recovered. The current seven-day incidence for NRW is therefore 116.6. According to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute, only the district of Höxter in North Rhine-Westphalia is currently above the 200 mark for seven-day incidence (201.8). (Ntv, January 7)
Pediatricians call for faster vaccinations for children and adolescents
Pediatricians have called for faster Corona vaccinations for children and adolescents so that daycare centers and schools can reopen. The president of the professional association of pediatricians and adolescents (BVKJ), Thomas Fischbach, told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” that it was bitter that they had to wait in line for vaccinations. Vaccinations of children are not yet provided for in the vaccination ordinance of Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. Moderna’s vaccine is approved for people 18 and older, while Biontech/Pfizer’s is approved for people 16 and older. “It is problematic that the approval of a vaccine for children is being lost sight of in the current excitement about the vaccine shortage for adults,” Fischbach criticized. There is also a need for “suitable vaccines for children and adolescents as quickly as possible.” (Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, January 7)
Corona demonstration in Stuttgart dissolved
Under strict conditions, almost 300 opponents and critics of the Corona protection measures demonstrated in front of Stuttgart City Hall on Wednesday evening. Because part of the protesters split off and moved to Karlsplatz, representatives of the city of Stuttgart dissolved the event. Among the conditions had been that the meeting should be held without a demo procession. The registrant, a private individual, had promised this the day before at a cooperation meeting with representatives of the public order office and the police. But after about an hour, this no longer worked: A group followed the suggestion of Heinrich Fiechtner (independent), member of the state parliament, and moved to Karlsplatz. There, the organizers originally wanted to hold a so-called Basic Law Disco followed by a procession. The leader of the meeting tried to stop the demonstration at Karlsplatz with an announcement and to distance himself from the action. Nevertheless, the city ended the event a little later.
One of the requirements was that the participants had to wear masks. Those who had a certificate had to show it. “We will then still check these certificates for their validity,” said a police spokesman. Participants who did not have masks on were assigned an extra area to gather in the marketplace. Under protest, some people placed themselves there, others remained in the crowd in the square. Since groups of protesters continued to meet at Karlsplatz after the dispersal of the gathering, the police intervened. They broke up these gatherings and took personal details and filed charges. Several times, the police had announced at the market square that violations were punishable by a fine of up to 500 euros. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 6)
Neurologist says Guillain-Barré syndrome may be result of Covid-19
According to a neurologist, the so-called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) can be a rare but severe complication after a Corona infection. At least 100 such cases of the inflammatory disease of the nerves with paralysis of muscles have been described worldwide, Peter Berlit, secretary general of the German Society of Neurology, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Researchers have reported the link between GBS and covid-19 in several studies. According to an analysis in the Journal of Neurology, affected individuals usually develop the syndrome a few days to about three weeks after corona infection. The disease, which sometimes causes complete paralysis of the muscles, occurs after both bacterial and viral infections. Berlit estimates that the number of described cases in Germany is currently around 20, with about 80 percent of those affected recovering completely. Sometimes functional deficits remain – five percent of the patients die. (Dpa, January 7)
High-tech ventilation to make rooms usable again
Physician and professor Ulrike Protzer, director of the Institute of Virology at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München, and her team have been working diligently over the past several months to develop a model that can help greatly reduce indoor aerosol concentrations. Aerosols are tiny mini-droplets, perhaps ten or twenty times smaller than a droplet from a cough or sneeze. These mini-droplets persist for a long time – up to several hours – in the air we breathe, and it is through them that Sars-CoV-2 is mainly transmitted from person to person. This makes lessons at school or lectures at university, visits to nursing homes, and visits to restaurants and theaters a risk.
The scientists have achieved promising results with the “Next Generation Classroom.” In collaboration with specialists from the companies OHB Systems AG and HT Group, they have developed a design for a ventilation system that could soon make school lessons, events in seminar rooms or concert halls possible again with a significantly lower risk of infection. The principle of this new”classroom” a vertical ventilation system installed under the ceiling extracts the rising exhaled air upwards in the room, filters it by means of so-called Hepa filters and feeds it back in as fresh air at the bottom, on the floor. The strong vertical flow prevents the aerosols contained in the breathing air from spreading uncontrollably. The air is extracted in the low-pulse range so that the people sitting in the room can confer, work and listen without being affected by excessive air flow or noise. (Ntv, January 7)