For a week now everything has been turning much slower in Germany: At the end of October, the lockdown for this month decided to close everything nationwide. In principle, only retail outlets, schools and day-care centers are allowed to remain open. The exceptions are a relief, especially for working parents, since home office and childcare are usually difficult to reconcile.
A confidential status report by the federal government on the corona pandemic in the country now gives cause for concern as to whether schools and daycare centers can really remain open. An evaluation of the 15 most affected cities and districts in Germany shows: In addition to senior citizens’ homes, schools and daycare centers are evidently increasingly becoming sources of infection. Almost half of these circles reported increased corona outbreaks in schools and daycare centers on Tuesday.
Are Children a Pandemic Driver?
According to previous scientific studies, children are not pandemic drivers. They are less likely to become infected than adults, and the younger the children are, the less susceptible they seem to the virus. A study recently published by the University of Frankfurt at 50 day-care centers shows that educators are most likely to become infected there.
It is also known, however, that in most cases an infection in children occurs very mildly or without any symptoms – and can therefore easily be overlooked. A study from Bavaria recently showed this impressively: The antibody study showed that six times as many children were infected in the spring as officially reported.
In addition, it appears that only younger children are infected less often. “According to the data so far, infections with SARS-CoV-2 seem to be less common in younger children than in adults, older children from around 12 to 14 years no longer differ from adults”, says Prof. Dr. Jörg Timm, Head of the Institute for Virology at the University Hospital Düsseldorf. “This means that there is basically the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 could also spread in schools.”
There have recently been increased reports of chains of infection among schoolchildren. However: The transmissions do not necessarily have to have taken place in school because the children also have private contact with each other. “I assume that in the next few weeks under the conditions of the currently applicable contact restrictions, the role of schools for the infection process will become clearer.”
The question is under what circumstances schools and day-care centers can remain open or what alternatives are to be taken and when. Behind the scenes, teachers clearly criticize the corona management. It happens that classes have to be quarantined, but teachers are sent to other classes, although it has not been conclusively clarified whether they are also sick. Parents’ associations complain about the handling of the situation in schools in an open letter and demand compliance with the hygiene concept for schools of the Robert Koch Institute.
Health authorities also apparently provide different information on how those affected and contact persons should act. According to NewsABC.net’s research, coronavirus illnesses occurred in individual daycare groups, whereupon the group had to be quarantined. According to the authorities, siblings of affected children should be able to continue to other daycare groups without a corona test.
Green light for intensive care beds – with one exception
The report also contains a number of other data on the current corona situation in the country. According to this, the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last few days in almost all around 400 cities and districts is above the value of 35.
Although the number of occupied intensive care beds is rising significantly nationwide, there are apparently still enough beds available. The traffic light has only jumped to orange for Berlin, even though the capital is no longer number 1 in terms of infection rates in Germany.
Still, it will only be a matter of time before the numbers pick up noticeably here too. Even now, with the data from November 9th, the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units in this country has reached a new high.
According to the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), a total of 3,005 intensive care beds are currently occupied with Covid 19 patients – 56 percent are ventilated there. In the spring, the peak was reached with just under 3,000 patients.
DIVI has therefore now called for the emergency mode for clinics in metropolitan areas. In this mode, all recordings and operations that can be postponed from a medical point of view are canceled. Doctors and nurses can thus support the intensive care units more effectively.
“The hospitals with a high number of Covid-19 patients now have to be taken out of regular operation immediately and switched to emergency operation!”, Says DIVI President Prof. Uwe Janssens. Politics should no longer play for time.