For months, many people have been going to the Robert Koch Institute website and reading the daily corona situation report for Germany. The almost 20-page paper is an important basis for decision-making for political decision-makers. Conclusions can be drawn from the data about how the number of diseases is developing, what the situation is like in the hospitals or which population group is the driver of the pandemic and which needs special protection.
For example, the data show that the incidence (number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days) has been highest among 20 to 29-year-olds for weeks. This means that young adults in particular are apparently the drivers of the pandemic.
This seems to confirm many education politicians in their view that schools are not particularly driving pandemics. The incidence in teenagers between the ages of 10 and 19 is high, but at least lower than in other groups or comparable. And so the federal and state governments decided last Wednesday that schools should remain open and that – wherever possible – face-to-face classes should continue to take place.
Research by NewsABC.net shows, however, that the RKI figures in the official management reports are misleading. In fact, the authority of Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has significantly more data and could further differentiate the age groups in the paper – but it doesn’t. Instead, the numbers are hidden behind a complicated database query or are even more strongly summarized.
It would make sense to differentiate between the age groups: If you look at these more precise figures, the situation among teenagers looks much more dramatic.
The RKI figures are prepared more clearly and transparently, for example from the private website corona-data.eu. It shows that the incidence nationwide was highest in the last week among 15 to 19 year olds and 20 to 24 year olds.
In the federal states most affected by the coronavirus, the incidence is clearly highest in many places, especially among 15-19-year-olds – in Hamburg even at a large distance from the other age groups.
The situation is similar in the other federal states: The number of new infections is highest everywhere, especially among young people between the ages of 15 and 19 and among young adults between the ages of 20 and 24. There are seldom differences between the two age groups.
SPD politician and epidemiologist Karl Lauterbach confirms this: “If you look at the age groups in steps of 5, the problem is greatest in the age group between 15 and 19 years.” This group in the statistics with the 10 to 15 year olds Merging them does not make sense, as many of the younger children are asymptomatic, but suspected of being infected. Lauterbach: “Merging the 10 to 15 year olds with the 15 to 19 year olds artificially dilutes the incidence.”
Lauterbach contradicts the argument of many educational politicians that schools are safe and that infections are only brought in from outside. “Such a high incidence can only be explained by cluster infections.” That means: The disease is transmitted within a group. “Where, if not in school, should something like this be possible? Discos, sports clubs or other opportunities are closed. And I think it is unrealistic that around 20 young people of the age in question meet at home and do their homework. ”
A thesis that is also shared by Charité chief virologist Christian Drosten, but is generally controversial among virologists. What is striking, however, in the numbers: Currently, 50 to 59-year-olds in particular often fall ill. “Unfortunately, that seems to be the case that teenagers infect their parents. This is also indicated by a recent US study, according to which children have infected their siblings or parents in 50 percent of cases. “Children are so-called bridge carriers.
Lauterbach welcomes the fact that the federal and state governments agreed on tougher measures in schools on Wednesday. Given the real numbers among teenagers, that was also urgently needed.