Daily Host Nation Update, June 23, 2021
Nationwide seven-day incidence drops to 7.2
The nationwide seven-day incidence continues to move significantly downward in the single digits. According to the latest RKI data, case incidence fell Monday from 8.0 to 7.2 newly registered Corona infections per 100,000 population within seven days. This is the lowest level since August 12, more than ten months ago. A month ago, the seven-day incidence was 64.5.(Robert Koch Institute, June 23)
Merkel: Third wave “impressively interrupted”
Ahead of her last government questioning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns against negligence in the fight against the pandemic. Although the infection situation is “encouraging and gives hope for a good summer” and the third wave has been “impressively broken,” she says in the Bundestag. But the pandemic is not over yet, she said. “We are skating on thin ice.” The spread of the delta variant in other countries is alarming, she said. “This should be both a warning and a mandate for us, because the share of the delta variant in infections is also increasing in our country,” Merkel said. What has been achieved should not be risked lightly now, she added. For the time being, she refuses to make a final assessment of the pandemic policy. At the same time, she stressed that it had been possible to prevent the health system from being overburdened. It was never a question of “health or the economy,” “health or education,” “health or culture,” but in any case both.(Ntv, June 23)
Despite Million-Day Value- German Vaccination Pace Stands Still
The German vaccination campaign has reached a million-day mark for the 16th time, but the pace of vaccination remains stalled. According to the latest vaccination rate monitoring by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 1,003,690 vaccinations were carried out nationwide on Tuesday. That is 6,508 fewer than last week (June 15: 1,010,198). The highest daily figure since the start of the German vaccination campaign (1,408,022) was reached on May 12. The daily vaccination output is currently stagnating at a seven-day average of 812,000 doses per day.(Robert Koch Institute,June 23)
Oxford uni tests anthelmintic against covid-19
Oxford University says it is testing the efficacy of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for Covid-19 patients. The drug, which is approved as a worming agent in human medicine, leads to a reduction in viral replication in laboratory studies, the university says. A small pilot study showed that early administration of the drug could reduce viral load and duration of symptoms in some patients, it said. Although the World Health Organization and European and U.S. regulators have advised against the use of ivermectin in Covid 19 patients, it is used to treat the disease in some countries, including India. Earlier on Monday, Berlin’s Charité hospital said it was investigating the tapeworm drug niclosamide as a treatment for corona infections.(Ntv, June 23)
Non Corona News
New Australian crocodile at Wilhelma Zoo
Some corners of Wilhelma Zoo have to be discovered again. For after almost eight months, the Zoological-Botanical Garden in Stuttgart was recently allowed to open its large animal houses again for the first time. The young animals born there since mid-October have not known any guests until now. While the small two-fingered sloth is at least already popular on the Internet via a “star photo,” the aquarium and terrarium building holds a surprise.
In the seclusion of the Corona closure, a new crocodile moved in at the end of April, which itself is still a bit of a mystery . The new arrival from Frankfurt Zoo completes the quartet of the two Australian crocodile species. On the Fifth Continent, the smaller Australian crocodiles live only in the freshwater of rivers and swamps, whereas the large inguinal crocodiles can tolerate salt water and are therefore also found in estuaries and in the sea. Thus, the two species meet in nature in some regions. The crocodile hall is modeled after such an area in northeastern Australia in its landscaping and vegetation: the Daintree National Park.
In the case of the inguinal crocodiles, Wilhelma already had a prominent pair with Frederick, the largest crocodile in Germany at 4.31 meters long and weighing 520 kilos, and Tong, the leaping white crocodile. Now the Australian crocodile, which in contrast is petite at just 1.60 meters and 15 kilos, has also been given company. “Billa was very reserved until now and is becoming more and more lively and agile,” says Wilhelma director and reptile expert Dr. Thomas Kölpin. “Now she even messes with our new addition Bong when it comes to grabbing the tastiest morsels of food.” Whether Bong will become a real partner to the estimated 35-year-old or rather a best friend: that is still the crucial question. Because with the only seven years old and 1,25 meters long animal the external sex characteristics are naturally only a few millimeters in size.
Crocodiles do not possess sex chromosomes. Thus, the temperature in the breeding mound of soil and plants determines whether a male or female hatches from an egg: below 30 degrees definitely a female, above 34 degrees a male. In between, both are possible. Because Bong was not hatched in an incubator, but in the crocodile facility of the Frankfurt Zoo, there is no certainty about this. But that is of secondary importance for the time being, because sexual maturity in Australian crocodiles does not set in until well over ten years later. Therefore the name Bong was chosen neutrally. It is based on a play on words, because in unison billabong is an expression used in Australia for the oxbow of a river or a waterhole that only fills up in the rainy season and is an important source for humans and animals.
At Wilhelma, the two species are kept separate to avoid any risk. But actually the small ones do not belong to the prey pattern of the big ones and there is no food envy. This is because the Australian crocodiles, with their long pointed mouths, specialize in catching fish, while the heavy-bodied inguinal crocodiles mainly hunt mammals and large birds.(BBheute, June 23)