Concern about third wave grows

The corona numbers are developing differently than hoped: Despite the lockdown, they are not going back any further. Nevertheless, there are always new demands for openings. At the same time, calls for stricter restrictions are also getting louder

Corona numbers have stagnated in Germany for days and more and more infected people in individual regions are causing fears of a third wave to grow. Calls for a loosening of lockdowns are opposed to speculations about more stringent measures. The President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, spoke on the station WDR5 of a race between vaccines and virus variants.

In Thuringia, which is particularly badly affected, the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and seven days within 24 hours rose from 111.6 to 119.5. In Baden-Wuerttemberg, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) warned of business representatives that a much harder lockdown than at present could be necessary. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke in warning words of growing impatience.

Numbers are stagnating, but a return to everyday life remains questionable

In most federal states, elementary school and day-care children will return to the facilities in the coming week after a break of around two months. On March 3, the federal and state governments want to discuss the situation. From March 7, shops should be able to reopen where there are regionally no more than 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and seven days for three days. Since last Sunday, this 7-day incidence nationwide fluctuated slightly above 57. Before that, it had fallen continuously for days.

According to experts, the stagnation is due to new virus variants such as the one from Great Britain. RKI boss Wieler said the seven-day incidence is currently stagnating slightly. "I think we can say within the next week whether it will go further down or whether we will have a slight increase again due to the variations."

"If the trend is confirmed, then we need stronger restrictions," said the molecular biologist and government advisor Rolf Apweiler German press agency. To
According to the RKI, the proportion of the more contagious British variant has risen from just under 6 to more than 22 percent within two weeks. Scientists have already doubted that the incidence will drop below 35 in the foreseeable future.

Strict lockdown against the mutation?

Seven-day incidences are rising again, for example in Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt - but nowhere as strongly as in rural Thuringia. In Flensburg, where the British variant is probably rampant, contacts outside the home and night outings are prohibited from Saturday onwards. Health Minister Heiner Garg said they wanted to "decisively counter" the danger of a third wave.

SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach named Flensburg as an example of what could happen to all of Germany if the British mutation spread further. "This can only be prevented by a strict lockdown until we are clearly below the target incidence of 35," he said on Twitter.

This is countered by increasingly loud opening calls. Federal President Steinmeier told representatives of the health care system in Saxony: "The impatience is growing in the country, that is noticeable."

Economy is pushing for easing

Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Kretschmann said: "I just keep listening to opening. I would like to experience someone who says, now do something a little sharper. I never hear that!" A third wave, which would be even worse than the second, could not be in the interests of the economy. "Then we'll do a real lockdown - it didn't even exist before."

The middle class is pushing for a binding "exit timetable". In a letter from the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Enterprises (BVMW) to Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) it says: "Germany has to get out of the lockdown." Resistance is also rising in municipalities with a lower number of cases. For example, Kempten's Lord Mayor Thomas Kiechle (CSU) told the dpa that Kempten had had an incidence of around 20 for days. Already CDU boss Armin Laschet had opposed a lockdown course that was strictly based on incidence values.

Hope rests on the vaccine

Steinmeier referred to progress in vaccination: "We can be happy that the vaccinations - from the point of view of many too slow - are now making progress." However, the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten had indicated that the first successes of the vaccination campaign had little effect on the spread of the virus. Reason: The very old are primarily vaccinated - but the younger ones spread the virus the most.

After doubts about the vaccine from the manufacturer Astrazeneca, the German Medical Association, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and other medical associations urged nursing staff to be vaccinated - also with this preparation. In the meantime, according to the RKI, there have been almost 107,000
Astrazeneca cans inoculated in Germany. The day before it was almost 90,000, and around 740,000 have been delivered.

With growing vaccine deliveries overall, according to Spahn, normal medical practices should also carry out corona vaccinations in the second quarter. Exact planning is in progress. According to information from Business Insider According to the first key points, practices could order up to four weeks in advance - an average of 100 cans a week. It is known that around 50,000 eligible practices should be able to carry out more than five million vaccinations per week.