Towards an “emergency brake” against the third Corona wave

by Thorsten Koch

The third wave of the corona pandemic is “perhaps the toughest for us,” Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned. Merkel hopes for tests and vaccinations in order to effectively combat the infections. In particular, vaccination is suitable to break the wave, said Merkel. CDU chairman Armin Laschet emphasized that one will have to learn to come to terms with Corona: “The ideas to bring it to zero” are unrealistic, at the moment. Caution should be exercised. CSU chairman Markus Söder, on his part, also expressed his hope of controlling the third wave.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the proportion of the new, more contagious Corona variant B.1.1.7, which was initially detected in Great Britain, was around 46 percent at the beginning of March. A month earlier, the proportion only stood at six percent.

The currently applicable Corona restrictions have apparently been extended by the German states until May 9th. However, very soon, the federal “emergency brake” against the pandemic is expected to come into force, possibly next week. This should bring more uniformity throughout Germany. The brake is expected to be valid until the end of May or mid-June.

Businesses of the daily need to remain open

According to press reports, the draft law on the emergency brake stipulates that shops, apart from grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores and petrol stations, remain closed in counties and counties with a seven-day incidence of at least 100. Cultural institutions will then also remain closed. In addition, hotels will not be allowed to accommodate tourists. In addition, there should be a curfew at night, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. What is more, schools should only teach distance lessons from an incidence value of 200 – with more than 200 newly infected people for every 100,000 inhabitants in a region.

Hospitals at maximum capacity

The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, fears that the situation in the hospitals will worsen. At worst, triage could occur. This means that hospitals have to go into emergency operation and doctors have to make the decision of who to treat first. The chairwoman of the Marburger Bund Doctors’ Association, Susanne Johna, said: “If we don’t step on the brakes immediately, then developments will get out of hand”. Therefore, one needed the emergency brake. The intensive care medical association Divi announced that by the end of April, 6,000 intensive care patients could be reached. According to recent information from the head of the intensive care registry, Karagiannidis, only around 1,400 intensive care beds remain available for Covid patients.

According to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, the third wave cannot be stopped immediately by the vaccinations taking place. Currently, there are not enough vaccine doses, Spahn said at the end of March. It could take a few more weeks until all risk groups were vaccinated. In view of the situation, SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach had also spoken out in favor of tightening the measures against the pandemic.

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