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This is how a virologist explains Germany’s highest incidence

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North Rhine-Westphalia is the first German state in months in which the seven-day incidence has risen above 100 again. A value that would have meant until the end of June that the federal emergency brake would apply.

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On Monday it was 103.7 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, well above the national average (56.4). Although the incidence is also increasing in the other federal states, the value in North Rhine-Westphalia is currently skyrocketing. It has almost doubled for a week, last Monday the incidence was 57.2.

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It is true that it is rightly noted that new infections are becoming less important and the focus is on the number of hospital stays. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn even called on Monday to delete the 50 incidence from the Infection Protection Act.

But in the most populous federal state, hospital stays have also risen significantly. In mid-July there were still 205 people with a corona infection in the hospital in North Rhine-Westphalia, this Monday there are already 845.

The head of the Institute for Virology in Düsseldorf, Jörg Timm, explains that the number of new infections is currently rising acutely in North Rhine-Westphalia, especially with the high population density. “There are many metropolises here and there is a considerable exchange between the cities,” he told Tagesspiegel. “Young people in particular like to go to Cologne, Düsseldorf or Bochum to celebrate.”

And they can do that again despite the high incidence. Because according to the new Corona Protection Ordinance in North Rhine-Westphalia, clubs are allowed to reopen regardless of the number of cases. Since Friday, vaccinated, recovered and PCR-tested partygoers have been allowed to dance indoors again without a mask.

Nevertheless, politics is not to blame for the high number of cases, says Timm. “In NRW, similar measures apply as in many other federal states,” he says. The virologist assumes that the seven-day incidence will soon increase significantly in the rest of Germany as well. Because the vaccination quotas would not be sufficient in any federal state to really stop chains of infection.

Vaccination as the best way out of the pandemic

The most efficient way to get a little closer to the end of the pandemic is vaccination, says Timm: “People have to be aware of how important this vaccination is.” That not only helps society, but also protects everyone individuals themselves. Last but not least, young people too – dhen most people who are currently in hospital with a corona infection are between 35 and 39 years old, followed by the group of 15 to 34 year olds.

The pure incidence value of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is still not too much of a cause for concern, because looking at the hospitals has become much more important. “And hospitalizations are still relatively low,” says the virologist.

This is one of the reasons why he does not yet demand any acute action from the state government. In addition, before politics come the individual handling of the pandemic: “I would appeal to the responsibility of the people that we do not behave as if the pandemic was already over.”

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