Germany not alarmed by infection rate rise

The scientific body advising the German government on coronavirus says it is not concerned that the virus reproduction rate – the R rate – has been above one for three straight days.

Above R1.0 means that, statistically, one infected person is passing the virus to more than one other person.

But Lars Schaade of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said only if the R value rose above 1.2 or 1.3 for several days would he be worried.

The data is also subject to delays.

Mr Schaade said “individual days are not a problem”.

He also said that the fewer the overall number of infections, the greater the impact of an outbreak – like those recently reported in slaughterhouses – on the R value.

Hundreds of workers in German slaughterhouses – many from Eastern Europe – have tested positive and now thousands more tests are being done in that sector. 

One slaughterhouse alone – in Coesfeld, North Rhine-Westphalia – has seen 260 cases.

“If the second decimal digit were above 1 that would not yet be critical. But the higher it goes above 1, like 1.2 or 1.3 and over a longer period of time, it would create a situation where we would pay very close attention and think about measures how to countersteer that,” Mr Schaade said.

RKI said on Tuesday the total of deaths in Germany from Covid-19 had reached 7,533. The daily average of deaths in the past week was 100 to 200. The death tolls in some other European countries – notably Italy, the UK and Spain – are much higher. (BBC News)

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