|It is not over yet! Covid-19 cases in the state of Hamburg (1.9 million inhabitants). |
Note the number of recovered patients is about half of the total cases.
204 people are hospitalized, while 53 people are in intensive care (©Die Zeit).
Intensive CareOn a national level, Germany currently has 40000 equipped for intensive care, of which about 24000 – with only a relatively few Corona cases so far - are occupied. Another 16000 places are in preparation. Of the existing beds, 10000 are equipped for artificial respiration. The bottleneck is the number of medical personnel trained to intubate patients in need.
The number of available beds varies from state to state, so for a centralized capture, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has established a register. In case of need, Corona patients shall be moved within Germany.
|A helicopter of the Bundeswehr fetching a Corona patient in neighboring Alsace (©dpa).|
Face MasksDue to the shortage of face masks, the situation is much confused. By now, everybody worldwide. has learned that the advanced protection of FFP (Filtering Face Piece) masks must be reserved for doctors and nurses in hospitals. In fact, due to the lack of protective equipment, we experienced local outbreaks of Covid-19 in various nursing and old age homes with devastating consequences.
But even simple face masks are presently not available. Delivery of a modest order Red Baron placed today is scheduled for the middle of May. Meanwhile, the RKI keeps repeating the mantra that a face mask worn by an infected person protects the people around him/her and not the wearer himself. The problem is that an infected person not having any Corona symptoms may already be contagious without knowing it.
Even when distances are kept, the wearing of simple masks shall be obligatory in crowded places like groceries and supermarkets. Red Baron is convinced that such a practice would contribute to decreasing the number of infections. "Presently, we are looking for every small step that can reduce transmission - it adds up."
"In East Asia, many people are used to wearing masks when they are sick or when it's hay-fever season because it is considered impolite to be sneezing or coughing openly. The 2003 Sars virus outbreak affected several countries in the region. So one key difference between these societies and Western ones is that they have experienced contagion before - and the memories are still fresh and painful."
Presentation of Data
Here is the current presentation of the number of infections with SARS-CoV-2 for the eight most affected countries. Those curves look frightening. Will the increase in the number of infections ever stop?
|New infections in Germany daily as a percentage of the previous day (©ntv)|
These new distance rules still take some getting used to (©BZ/Klaus Stuttmann)
Such a low doubling rate would possibly allow for the opening of shops and department stores but with only limited access, i.e., keeping distance between customers. Are restaurants places of social distancing? Big sports events will remain forbidden for a long time.
The most significant decision to be made by our government is whether kindergartens, schools, and universities may take up teaching activities soon.
|New infections in the US daily as a percentage of the previous day (©ntv)|
|For Germany, the lethality rate is only 1.4% but will increase in the coming days (©ntv)|
A Grim Outlook
There is a lot of pessimism in the air regarding the European Union.
While we can hope for improvements in the present pandemic situation over time, one sector will not recover until a vaccine against a Corona infection is available abundantly. I am referring to international tourism. Indeed, China actually claims that all "new" Corona cases seen on its territory are imported.
It is evident that in the near future, no German will risk traveling to Bella Italia. For Americans, Sinatra's "It's very nice to go trav'ling, to Paris London and Rome" will mak way to "But it's so much nicer, yes it's so much nicer to stay home."
Even once a vaccine is available and used, the border guards will check on the validity of the vaccination certificate. Red Baron still remembers his first visit to the States in 1957 when proof of a valid vaccination against smallpox was required. The route across the Atlantic between Europe and the States used to be a racetrack. How many Boings and Airbuses will be needed in the near and the distant future?
There is life after Corona, but the world will be dramatically different.