What everyone in Germany needs to know now
As of: 12:30 p.m. | Reading time: 5 minutes
Hardly anyone in Germany can avoid dealing with the corona virus. Before a wave of diseases breaks out here, everyone can arm themselves with the necessary knowledge. Here are the key facts.
DThe corona virus multiplies in the throat and can be easily passed on. Wherever it spreads, people with previous illnesses must protect themselves. Here are the most important questions and answers about the pathogen – also quite suitable for small talk these days.
How is the virus transmitted?
Especially by droplet infection. The virus multiplies in the throat and not in the lungs, as was initially assumed. Researchers have also detected many viruses in the throat of people who have just been infected and are not yet feeling sick. From the throat, the viruses can get out of the body very quickly, faster than from the lungs: when coughing, sneezing or blowing the nose. It can also get on surfaces, you can also become infected if you pick it up there with your hands and then touch your face, i.e. by smear infection. The Webasto company, who got infected in Bavaria, had taken part in meetings with the infected colleague from China. The colleague had only mild symptoms that were hardly noticeable.
How are German patients doing?
The first of 14 Covid-19 patients in Bavaria was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday – “completely healthy and no longer contagious”. The man was treated in the Munich Clinic Schwabing – as one of nine patients with the new virus there. Some more were fired at the weekend. The course of the disease was “very mild” in eight of these patients, says the treating doctor Clemens Wendtner, head of the infectious disease department. They had “a slight fever in some cases, otherwise a cough”. Only one patient got pneumonia. “This patient was then treated with lopinavir and ritonavir as a fixed, well-known combination.” Here, says Wendtner, he can announce good news: this patient is on the mend and is absolutely stable. “And here, too, we are very confident that we will soon be able to speak about a layoff.”
The quarantine in Germersheim ended after two weeks on Sunday for around 120 returnees from China. Tests for the virus were negative. The quarantine of 14 days corresponds to the maximum incubation period – the time between infection and symptoms.
What is the risk of infection in Germany?
By Friday, 16 people in Germany had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 – all had been isolated since their infection became known. There are still no sources of infection in Germany, said the virologist Drosten – however, this can change at any time. Right now, therefore, “everyone should think and deal with this disease,” said Drosten. For example, one could think about which family members would be particularly at risk if the virus spread in Germany and how one could protect them from being infected.
Who is particularly at risk?
Anyone can get Sars-CoV-2, but Covid-19 does not break out equally in everyone. For most infected people, it will feel like a cold, said Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at the Charité in Berlin. So far, it seems that children can transmit the virus but are “practically not affected” by the disease; why is not yet known. “The special risk group are older patients. And there is an emphasis on the male sex. ”People with a weakened immune system and previous illnesses are susceptible to infections – this applies to the flu that gets around in Germany, but also to the new virus.
How can you protect yourself and others?
You can protect others by retreating when you are ill and always holding your arm or a handkerchief in front of your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Used handkerchiefs should be disposed of in closed trash cans as soon as possible. Regular hand washing protects against the transmission of pathogens. Warning: You must soap your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. It is worth stopping the time to see how long it is. In addition, you should not put your hands on your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. Conventional breathing masks, on the other hand, offer healthy people little protection against infection, the doctor Clemens Wendtner from Munich considers them “senseless”. He also points out that “moistening the mask cancels the barrier protection within 20 minutes”. And the mask gets wet when the air we breathe condenses.
Why is flu vaccination recommended?
To relieve the health care system in the event of a corona epidemic in Germany. Vaccination offers no protection against the new corona virus. But the symptoms of both diseases are similar, the flu can also be severe, and many patients have to be treated in the hospital. The flu wave is already running, since autumn at least 58,000 people in Germany have been infected, 96 people have died as a result. Vaccination can still provide protection now. There will be a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 at the earliest in 18 months.
Who is tested on SARS-CoV-2 in Germany?
“Tests are carried out in Germany on well-founded suspected cases, i.e. people with symptoms of illness who have had contact with the sick or are in a risk area,” said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute. In addition, thousands of concerned people have apparently already been tested in Germany, and all the results have been negative. “Such emotionally based tests are not sensible because they cost resources and do not help us to get an idea of the real situation.”
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