Daily Host Nation Stories – September 2, 2020
Every third German currently against a Covid-19 vaccination
According to a survey, 67 percent in this country wants to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as a vaccine is available. The World Economic Forum had asked people around the world about their vaccination attitudes. The Germans in particular are skeptical. Between July 24 and August 7, the WEF asked nearly 20,000 people in 27 countries around the world whether they would like to undergo such immunization as soon as a vaccine is available and when they expect to receive it. The results are sobering: Apparently many believe that an effective and tolerable vaccine will be a long time in coming. (WELT.de, September 2)
Nationwide Alarm sound-off set for Sept. 10
For the first time since reunification in 1990, a nationwide warning day will take place on Sept. 10, 2020. The following summarizes what will happen on that day.
The Warning Day 2020 is a day of action by the federal and state governments. All warning devices are to be tested that day throughout Germany. Sirens or loudspeaker in vehicles will sound off throughout Germany. There will also be further warnings. The federal government is using its “Modular Warning System” (MoWaS) for this purpose. So-called warning multipliers are connected to this system, for example radio stations and app servers. These will send test warnings within their programs or to the end devices (apps, radios etc.). This means that radio and TV stations will interrupt your programs as an example.
The warning day signals will start on Sept. 10, 2020 at 11 a.m. At that time, warning devices such as sirens will be triggered in all districts and municipalities for a test alarm. In the future, the warning day will take place every second Thursday in September of every year. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, August 31)
Some questions and answers in regards to the current COVID environment – Stuttgarter Nachrichten
- Why has the death rate decreased in Germany?
The death rate has decreased significantly. While seven percent of Covid-19 patients died at the end of April according to the RKI, the rate is currently below 0.5 percent of registered infected persons. There are several reasons for this. Among other reasons, many more people are now being tested, than were at the beginning of the pandemic, which has changed the ratio of infected to dead. Moreover, early detection has improved. While in the beginning it was older people who were infected, it is now increasingly younger people (keyword: vacation returnees) who are usually more robust and have fewer pre-existing conditions. In addition, doctors now have more experience in dealing with corona and better treatment options.
- How infectious are asymptomatic people?
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 81 percent of those who become ill develop only weak symptoms. According to South Korean researchers, around 30 percent of all infections are completely asymptomatic. Both are particularly true for children and younger women. However, according to the RKI, every fifth person infected suffers a severe and sometimes even fatal course of the disease. Mainly older people and men are affected. However, even an apparently mild form of the disease can cause severe and permanent lung damage. It is not yet known whether these are only isolated cases. A study from Korea has recently confirmed that even people without symptoms carry infectious viruses. According to Frankfurt virologist Sandra Ciesek, it is not clear, however, whether they are actually contagious. Presumably, the risk is at least significantly lower.
- How reliable are the tests?
Acute corona infections can be detected with PCR tests. In the laboratory, characteristic sections of the virus genome are searched for. In this context, there is often debate about so-called false positive tests, in which individuals are recognized as infected although they are in fact healthy. This can lead to false conclusions, especially when the number of infections is low. If, for example, such a test produces one percent false positive results – this is known as a specificity of 99 percent – and at the same time only one percent of the population is infected, there would be two positive results for 100 tests. The percentage of infected people would therefore be estimated to be twice as high as in reality.
- What happens during the flu season?
Doctors and politicians advise to use the flu vaccination. It would be problematic if a wave of flu were to follow the corona pandemic. Since one stays again more inside in the autumn and winter, the Corona risk increases anyway. According to Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), the German government has therefore ordered additional flu vaccine: 25 million doses – more than ever before. Even those who do not belong to the risk groups should be vaccinated. Otherwise, he said, practices and clinics would be overloaded. According to surveys, every second German wants to do the same. In that case, the vaccine could become scarce despite greater capacities, warns the Standing Commission on Vaccination. It therefore recommends that priority be given to older people, pregnant women, the chronically ill and medical personnel.
- How long does the immunity last?
Recently, several patients have been reported to have been re-infected with the coronavirus after a survived infection. Virologists have so far assumed that these are isolated cases. However, it seems clear that the immunity to corona only protects against new infections for a limited period of time as a result of a natural infection or a future vaccination against corona. On the one hand, the virus changes permanently, and on the other hand the number of antibodies with which the immune system fights off viruses decreases rapidly after an infection. According to studies, the so-called T-cells could provide longer protection. They are not so highly specialized in individual virus types and have, with a certain probability, had contact with similar corona viruses before. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 2)