A health worker is caring for a Covid-19 patient in the ICU ward at Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart, Germany on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
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It’s no secret that Germany has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, but one leading health expert in the country is now warning of ‘exponential growth’ in the number of infections.
This comes at a time when the country has suspended the use of the AstraZeneca University of Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine.
Epidemiologist Dirk Brockmann, an expert at the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases, said a recent weakening of the Covid restrictions was a more virulent variant of the virus, which was only discovered in the UK last year. let spread.
“We are exactly on the flank of the third wave. It can no longer be disputed. And at this stage we have relaxed the restrictions and it is accelerating the exponential growth,” Brockmann told German broadcaster ARD on Tuesday.
“It was completely irrational to get loose here. It just fueled this exponential growth,” he said.
Germany has been praised for its initial response to the pandemic, and has managed to keep matters smaller through an efficient detection system, and keep the death rate lower thanks to its modern hospital infrastructure.
But over the past few months, in the winter and faced with new, more virulent variants of the virus, it seems that it is difficult to contain infections. The slow explosion of the EU vaccine has not helped matters, and the group is being criticized for the slower procurement and deployment of vaccines. The vaccination of Germany has faced several obstacles, frustrating officials and health experts in the country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders agreed earlier this month to a gradual easing of restrictions together with an ’emergency brake’ that enables the authorities to reverse if the number of infections rises above 100 per 100,000 on three consecutive days.
The emergency brake, the government said, was envisaged “if we experience exponential growth” of business. Merkel and regional leaders are expected to review the measures on March 22, where they will decide whether or not to move to the next step of reopening.
The number of 100,000 cases reported on Tuesday was 83.7, up from 68 a week ago, and the RKI said the benchmark could reach 200 by the middle of next month. Reuters noted in a report on Tuesday.
The closure of Germany may currently last until at least March 28, but some restrictions have already been eased, with the start of schools, day care and hairdressers at the beginning of the month.
Then a week ago bookstores and florists were allowed to reopen and some museums as well. However, regional rules may differ, with states gaining discretion over how and when to reopen given rates.
On March 22, Germany’s five-point plan to re-open provided that some eateries, theaters and cinemas could reopen outdoors. But the increasing number of infections can derail the grid.
According to the top epidemiologist, Germany, and a handful of other European countries, have decided to suspend the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford with concerns about reports of blood clots in a handful vaccinated.
The move has surprised experts around the world, but the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (both of which conduct a safety review of the vaccine) insist that all available evidence shows that the vaccine is safe and effective and does not require rapid use. ‘ a higher risk of blood clots, which is common in the general population.
The vaccine manufacturer itself emphasized that the data showed that the number of blood clots in the vaccinated population was actually lower than could naturally be expected.
The WHO and EMA, which are due to publish the findings of its safety review on Thursday, say the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks and that countries should not interrupt their vaccination programs. Nevertheless, more than a dozen European countries have suspended its use. This can lead experts to a dangerous increase in infections and deaths.
“The latest figures indicate 40 fatal cases for every 20 million vaccinated with Astra-Zeneca vaccination. Each case taken individually is always terrible, but it is statistically insignificant in percentage. Instead, the delay in vaccination costs Europe has around 2,000 deaths a day, and tens of billions of euros in lockdowns, closed businesses, “said Guido Cozzi, professor of macroeconomics at the University of St. Petersburg. Gallen, said in a note on Tuesday.
Even if public health institutions such as the WHO and the EMA reiterate on Thursday that the vaccine is safe, experts fear that more damage has already been done to the vaccine’s reputation.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has faced several obstacles, ranging from question marks over methodology and trial data, misplaced hesitation about the vaccine’s efficacy at age 65 and disputes over delays in supplies to the AstraZeneca EU. Rworld data show that the vaccine is extremely effective in preventing serious cases of Covid, hospitalizations and deaths in adults.