Researchers skeptical about corona relaxations

Researchers skeptical about corona relaxations

Federal and state governments have made their far-reaching easing of the corona crisis too early, according to infectious disease researcher michael meyer-hermann.

The number of new infections has risen again in recent days, the head of the department of systems immunology at the helmholtz center for infection research in braunschweig explained on thursday. The exact causes are still uncertain.

There is also skepticism about the agreed so-called emergency brake, according to which from 50 new infections per 100.000 residents in seven days a fencing concept should take effect. The value appears to be far above the current capacities of the health authorities, said rafael mikolajczyk, epidemiologist and institute director of the martin-luther university halle-wittenberg.

Frankfurt virologist martin sturmer criticized: "we want too much at once." He said "hessenschau.De": "this could backfire enormously."He has serious doubts about whether the safety measures in the catering industry can be adequately complied with in all efforts to do so. "When you eat, you just have to take off your mouth guard"."

Chancellor angela merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the federal states agreed on corona relaxations on wednesday, such as the opening of restaurants and all shops, the gradual return of all schools to the schools and training in recreational sports. The basis for this was infection data as of tuesday.

The increase in the number of newly infected people in the following days correlates in time with the previous opening of the first shops, said meyer-hermann at an event of the science media center germany. Whether this is also the reason, is however unclear. In order to wait for possible delays in data collection, he believes it would have been better to wait until the end of this week, or even next week, before discussing any relaxation of the anti-pandemic measures.

"I don’t know how bad it is," he said. But in his view, the politicians "probably" missed an opportunity to reach such low numbers in a relatively short time that contact tracing and relaxation would have been possible in the case of infected persons.

Viola priesemann, head of the research group on the theory of neuronal systems at the max planck institute for dynamics and self-organization in gottingen, buried the idea of giving responsibility to regions. But that can only work if mobility between the regions remains low. For that, they had to have control over whether the virus was introduced, priesemann said. Otherwise, a county that tries hard sometimes suffers the consequences when infections remain high in neighboring counties.

Mikolajczyk thinks nothing of it, values such as the 50 newly infected per 100.000 inhabitants within one week from the outset. "Rather, it is a matter of ensuring that as far as possible all traps and their contacts in a region can be identified and isolated by the health authorities," he said. That depends on local capacities, he said.

"The regulation at least creates a certain requirement to put local health authorities in a position to react quickly and effectively to local outbreaks," said gerard krause, head of the epidemiology department at the helmholtz center for infection research in braunschweig, in response to an inquiry. This must be absolutely given in the current and also the expected situation. However, he does not know how exactly the above-mentioned threshold was reached.

Eva grill, professor of epidemiology at munich’s ludwig-maximilians-university, also sees positives in the emergency brake. "Whereby it must be seen whether the number of 50 new cases per week/100.000 inhabitants is actually low enough."

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