- The number of reproductions has exceeded a critical value.
- The number indicates how many more people are infected on average by an infected person.
- According to the Robert Koch Institute on Saturday, the figure was 1.10 (data as of May 9 at midnight) – in order to abate the epidemic, the number had to be below 1.
With the so-called reproductive number, one of the decisive values for the infection process in Germany has recently risen – and has exceeded a critical value. The number indicates how many more people are infected on average by an infected person. According to the Robert Koch Institute on Saturday, the value was 1.10 (data status May 9 at midnight). The RKI has repeatedly emphasized that in order to let the epidemic subside, the number of reproductions must be below 1.
At the beginning of May, according to RKI information, the value was between 0.7 and 0.8 over several days. On Wednesday, the RKI gave the value at 0.65 (data status May 6, 00:00), since then it has risen continuously. How to read and interpret this development is anything but trivial.
Value refers to infections that occurred a certain time ago
First of all, you have to know that the indication that an infected person infects 1.10 more people on average does not reflect the current situation. For methodological reasons, the value refers to infections that occurred a certain time ago. One cannot, therefore, read any possible effects in the course of infection, which can be attributed to the loosening of restrictions on Wednesday by the federal and state governments.
In addition, the RKI emphasizes in a statement on the increased number of reproductions that the R value is always subject to a certain degree of uncertainty. Due to the statistical fluctuations, which would be reinforced by the overall lower numbers, it cannot yet be assessed whether the falling trend of new infections has continued over the past few weeks – or whether the number of cases has increased again. “The increase in the estimated R-value makes it necessary to watch the development very carefully over the next few days,” writes the RKI.
Reproduction number depends on many factors
The number of reproductions cannot be used alone as a “measure of effectiveness / necessity of measures”, the RKI writes on its website. The absolute number of new infections every day and the severity of the diseases are also important. The absolute number of new infections must be small enough to enable effective follow-up of contact persons and not to overload the capacities of intensive care beds. According to an RKI overview, the number of reported new infections per day has been falling with fluctuations since the beginning of April.
Dirk Brockmann, an expert in modeling infectious diseases at the Humboldt University in Berlin, also emphasizes that the R value is only a rough estimate and depends on many factors. Nevertheless, a hypothesis can be derived from the increase from 0.65 to 1.10. Brockmann assumes that this is reflected in the fact that people have slowly returned to normality before the easing measures decided on Wednesday. You meet again a bit more and generally travel more. That leads to more contagions, according to the thesis.
In general, the development of the infection must be observed over a longer period. On the whole, the R-value still oscillates around 1, says Brockmann.
By Valentin Frimmer, dpa
Plague, HIV, Ebola: 11 pandemics that have changed human history
Plague, HIV, Ebola: 11 pandemics that have changed human history
Justinian Plague (541-750)
The rule of Justinian I, the emperor of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century, was affected by the outbreak of bubonic plague. The pandemic, now known as the Justinian plague, is said to have killed between 30 and 50 million people, writes National Geographic. That corresponds to about half of the world’s population at that time.
The Justinian plague has definitely happened. However, researchers have not yet agreed on how far-reaching the consequences of the plague were, according to “Smithsonian Magazine”.
Many experts assume that the pandemic has largely brought trade to a standstill. As a result, the Byzantine Empire was weakened, allowing other civilizations to retake areas in the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia. Emperor Justinian was just about to unite the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire when the pandemic struck. The outbreak is therefore understood by some as a crucial point for the end of this era.
It remains to be seen whether these events are actually attributable to the pandemic. However, it is clear that the Roman Empire was never reunited and the Middle Ages began.
Bettmann / Getty Images
The Black Death (1347-1351)
Between 1347 and 1351, bubonic plague spread across Europe and killed around 25 million people. It took more than 200 years for the European population to return to the pre-1347 level. In Asia, especially in China, where the plague probably originated, the death toll is likely to be even higher.
Another episode of the pandemic, which later became known as the Black Death, was the beginning of the decline in serfdom, according to a Khan Academy article. Since so many people had died, the living standards of the survivors rose. Workers had more employment opportunities and social mobility increased. At the same time there was a brief standstill in warfare.
From a cultural point of view, the catastrophe led to an increase in mysticism, as suffering challenged the religious dominance of the Roman Catholic Church. Reactions to the plague included an increase in fanaticism and the “scapegoat narrative”. This led to increased prejudice and pogroms against minorities such as Jews and Roma.
Smallpox (15th-17th centuries)
The Europeans brought a number of new diseases with them when they first arrived on the American continents in 1492. One of these was smallpox, a contagious disease that kills about 30 percent of those infected, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Between the 15th and 17th centuries, about 20 million people died of smallpox on the American continent. That corresponds to almost 90 percent of the population at that time. The pandemic helped Europeans colonize and develop the newly conquered territories and changed the history of America, its European conquerors and the global economy forever.
The exploitation of the New World mineral resources in the form of silver and gold from Latin America, for example, led to massive inflation in the distant Spanish Empire. The economist John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1930 that this “price revolution” was a crucial turning point in the emergence of modern capitalism.
Bettmann / Getty Images
The first cholera pandemic started in Jessore, India, and spread across most of the region and then to neighboring areas. It was the first of seven major cholera pandemics that killed millions of people.
A British doctor named John Snow found out how to prevent the spread of the disease. In 1854 he was able to contain the outbreak by tracing the source of the disease to a specific water pump in the Soho district of London.
The World Health Organization has called cholera “the forgotten pandemic”. The seventh outbreak that started in 1961 continues to this day. According to the WHO, cholera infects 1.3 to four million people each year, with the number of annual deaths ranging from 21,000 to 143,000.
Cholera is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with bacteria. It therefore rages primarily in countries that show extreme differences in prosperity and whose level of development is limited. Cholera continues to change the world by attacking those areas that are least able to defend themselves. Rich countries no longer have to worry about cholera.
The Spanish flu (1918-1919)
The Spanish flu was an outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which infected around 500 million people in the early 21st century. At that time, this corresponded to a third of the world’s population. The pandemic was responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people worldwide, the CDC website said.
At the time of the outbreak, World War I came to an end and health authorities had little or no official protocol for dealing with virus pandemics, which added to the great impact of the pandemic.
In the years after the flu, it was possible to understand how the pandemic started and how it could have been prevented. The research has helped improve healthcare and helped mitigate the effects of similar flu-like virus outbreaks.
Underwood Archives / Getty
Hong Kong flu or H3N2 (1968-1970)
Fifty years after the Spanish flu, another flu virus spread across the world: H3N2. It has been estimated that there have been approximately one million deaths worldwide, including approximately 100,000 in the United States.
The 1968 pandemic was the third outbreak of influenza in the 20th century, the other two were the Spanish flu in 1918 and the Asian flu in 1957. The virus responsible for the Asian flu is believed to have developed and developed as Hong Kong ten years later Flu showed up again. This led to the H3N2 pandemic.
Although H3N2 was not as deadly as the H1N1 virus from the Spanish flu in 1918, H3N2 was extraordinarily contagious: 500,000 people became infected within two weeks after the first reported case in Hong Kong, according to an article by the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” . The pandemic helped to understand the crucial role of vaccination in preventing future outbreaks.
HIV / AIDS (1981-present)
The first documented cases of HIV / AIDS were reported in 1981. But the virus still infects and kills people today. Since 1981, 75 million people have been infected with the HI virus. Around 32 million have died from the effects of the virus, AIDS.
HIV is a sexually transmitted virus. So far, only a few cases have been cured, reports the Deutsche Aids-Hilfe on its website. However, HIV can now be treated with medication so that infected people can live a long life.
Basketball superstar Magic Johnson made history when he left the NBA in 1991 and made his HIV diagnosis public. Johnson remains a successful businessman and is committed to educating people about HIV and AIDS.
The impact of the HIV / AIDS crisis on the global economy is still under investigation. Research often focuses on Africa, the continent with the largest proportion of HIV / AIDS cases.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the global LGBTQI community received a lot of attention due to the strong impact of HIV / AIDS on its members. One of the first mainstream films to deal with HIV / AIDS and homophobia was the 1993 Philadelphia film, which won an Oscar.
SARS, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome, is a disease caused by one of the seven coronaviruses that can infect humans.
In 2003, an outbreak originating in the Guangdong province of China became a global pandemic. Within a very short time, the disease spread to a total of 26 countries. Just over 8,000 people were infected – 774 of them died as a result, the CDC said.
The impact of the 2003 SARS pandemic was limited as authorities around the world responded by quarantining the affected areas and isolating infected people. Scientists who study the new 2019 corona virus have found that its genetic makeup is 86.9 percent identical to the SARS virus, the Stat website says. The comparison serves to assess whether governments can successfully repeat one of the 2003 containment procedures.
The outbreak of SARS has raised awareness of preventing the transmission of viral diseases. This applies in particular to Hong Kong, where public facilities have since been cleaned regularly and face masks have become part of everyday life.
Greg Baker / AP
Swine flu or H1N1 (2009-2010)
In 2009, a new form of the influenza virus appeared that infected approximately 60.8 million people in the United States, with the number of deaths worldwide ranging from 151,700 to 575,400. Swine flu was relatively mild in Germany, but a few thousand people were also infected here, according to the website of the health insurance company headquarters.
The name of the so-called swine flu is misleading because the virus is transmitted from person to person, but can also occur in birds and pigs.
It differs from typical flu outbreaks in that 80 percent of virus-related deaths occurred in people under 65 years of age. Typically, 70 to 90 percent of flu-related deaths occur in people over 65, the CDC said.
H1N1 has shown how quickly a virus can spread in the 21st century. Swine flu has made it clear that additional preparations are required so that the global community can react more quickly in the future. Swine flu has also shown that countries with advanced health systems are also susceptible to the rapid spread of flu-like viruses.
REUTERS / Stringer
The Ebola virus, named after a river near the first outbreak, was limited in range compared to most modern pandemics, but incredibly deadly.
The outbreak started in 2014 in a small village in Guinea. A handful of neighboring countries in West Africa were also affected in a very short time. The virus killed 11,325 of the 28,600 people infected, with most cases occurring in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the CDC said.
Ebola is estimated to cost a total of $ 4.3 billion, with overseas investment declining dramatically in the three countries listed above.
Similar to the cholera pandemic, Ebola initially affected those countries that could hardly defend themselves against the disease due to a lack of financial and medical resources.
Jerome Delay / AP Photo