Opening pressure despite increasing incidence | free press


Berlin (dpa) – Germany is fascinated by the incident. For many, it has long been the decisive factor in the corona pandemic: will the summer continue to relax and is the end of all measures in sight – or are restrictions needed again?

After a long and steep descent, the incidence is now increasing again, in other European countries even significantly. At the same time, in addition to requests for opening, again doubts arise about the meaning of the code number.


The 7-day incidence had fallen continuously from nearly 170 to less than 5 since April. For a few days, it has been rising again to a low level. On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute reported that it had 6.2 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. Experts had expected the increase, among other things, because of the more contagious Delta variant, which now dominates the infection process in Germany. At the same time, only very few corona deaths are reported and the number of corona patients requiring intensive medical care has fallen very sharply. More than 42 percent of the population has already been fully vaccinated.


In the political discussion about how to deal with the current situation, last weekend warned of further easing and called for an end to the restrictions in the foreseeable future.

Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU), Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) and Family Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) advised caution. The left initially called for further corona easing to be halted. Bouffier appealed to wait “at least three months” to better assess the situation.

Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) van Saarland argued for further relaxation with a significantly higher vaccination coverage. “The more people are vaccinated and tested, the more the incidence value alone loses its informational value.” The deputy chairmen of the SPD group, Bärbel Bas and Dirk Wiese, argued the same in a joint statement.

The FDP called on the federal government to present a concept for an orderly exit from the special regulations in the corona pandemic by the end of the summer holidays. Business associations spoke out against renewed tough measures, even with rising corona figures.


The situation in Great Britain is closely monitored from Germany. The 7-day incidence there is already above 280. At the same time, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will probably announce on Monday that all remaining corona rules in most of England will be lifted on July 19.

Since the beginning of June, the British have seen a sharp increase in the number of new infections in the course of the spread of the delta variant. The number of deaths and hospitalizations is also increasing, but has so far remained extremely low. The British see this as a success in their rapidly advancing vaccination campaign. Britain’s top statistician Ian Diamond told Sky News on Sunday that the links between infections and hospitalizations, serious illnesses and deaths had been significantly weakened.


Experts continue to view the incidence as an indicator of how the virus is spreading among the population. The central question is how to interpret the stronger spread of the virus, said statistician Helmut Küchenhoff of the University of Munich at the German Press Agency. The current increase in incidence is “perhaps a reason for nervousness, but not yet a reason to take back the easing”. You have to wait and see to be able to foresee the effects on the actual number of diseases.


Many experts agree that with the increasing vaccination protection in the population, the incidence is in a different relationship with serious courses than a few months ago. It is difficult to estimate how big this difference is. Küchenhoff argues in favor of looking primarily at the elderly in terms of incidence, because they are particularly susceptible to a serious course. Most recently, according to RKI data, the value for people aged 60 and older was less than half that of the general population – and according to Küchenhoff’s calculations, it has not increased in recent times. This is probably also due to the higher vaccination coverage among the elderly.


In a strategy paper at the beginning of June, the RKI named the 7-day incidence as one of the two leading indicators in assessing the corona situation. Recently, the RKI wrote in its board report: “From an epidemiological point of view, the withdrawal of measures should be gradual and not too rapid.” In another analysis, the RKI also points out that the increasing dominance of the delta variant especially affects intensive care when vaccination rates among 12- to 59-year-olds “stagnate at 75 percent or even 65 percent and at the same time full opening takes place”.


The aim of the policy, announced at an early stage, is not to overload the health system and prevent serious illness and death. From Küchenhoff’s point of view, one should look closely at these parameters – for example, how many new corona cases there are in clinics. The Federal Ministry of Health announced on Sunday that hospitals in the future should be obliged to report all new hospital admissions due to Corona. Until now, only the number of intensive care patients has been centrally monitored.