Coronavirus: First Covid 19 spreads in Germany

Coronavirus: First Covid 19 spreads in Germany

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First Covid-19 infection chains reported in Germany

The spread of the new coronavirus Covid-19 has reached a new level of risk in Germany. While previously there were only imported cases from China that could be isolated in hospitals, the first cases are now being reported that have been transmitted within Germany. Is the corona virus spreading in Germany?

After new infections with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus became known, the hope of keeping the lung disease out of Germany has vanished. What is being done to limit the spread and what is known about the virus and disease?

Ten new Covid 19 cases in Germany

At least ten cases are now known in which people within Germany have contracted the new virus: four people in Baden-Württemberg, at least five in North Rhine-Westphalia and one in Rhineland-Palatinate. Health Minister Jens Spahn expects a much stronger spread in the coming days.

Crisis team is looking for contacts

A newly established crisis management team is now to search for people who have had contact with the infected in order to curb the spread. In North Rhine-Westphalia, an infected couple had attended a carnival session. There the couple had infected at least one other man, a 41-year-old soldier from Rhineland-Palatinate.

The crisis team is now looking for the participants in the carnival event and for the people with whom the soldier was in contact. In the first checks, two other infected people from the Heinsberg district were already identified who had contact with the couple.

New cases also in Baden-Württemberg

There are currently four known infected people in Baden-Württemberg. The first known case is a 25-year-old from Göppingen who infected at least two other people. Another case has now been announced regardless of this group of people. It is a man from the city of Rottweil who returned with his family from the risk area in Italy.

How high is the risk of further spread in Germany?

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), further imports of cases to Germany can be expected. Further transmissions of Sars-CoV-2, infection chains and outbreaks in the country are also possible. Local infections could initially go undetected, said Vice President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lars Schaade, in the RBB. It is "quite possible that we do not recognize all these outbreaks immediately". One has to expect that this will lead to a further spread. The experts currently assess the risk to the health of the population in Germany as low to moderate.

What would a major outbreak in Germany mean for the health system?

A wave of infection in this country could mean, among other things, full waiting areas and doctor's offices, occupied intensive care beds and completely overloaded health departments, the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten had recently explained. Experts see it as problematic that the annual flu wave is currently rolling through Germany - and that the health system is already being stressed. For this reason, the goal is to delay the spread of the coronavirus as possible, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently stated. "We have to make reasonable efforts to slow down the spread to alleviate an intense stress pulse on the health care system," said Drosten. "The number of infections should be extended as long as possible."

How contagious is the new corona virus?

Exact routes of infection of the virus are still not known in detail. The virus spreads through droplet infection, for example when coughing and speaking. Initial results indicate that the virus can also be spread via the digestive system and at least for a few days via surfaces. Clemens Wendtner, Chief Physician of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at Munich Clinic Schwabing, had a risk that had been underestimated so far that “quite relevant amounts” of Sars-CoV-2 could be detected in stool samples from patients in the initial phase of Covid 19 disease , explained.

How dangerous is the virus?

It is still a difficult question. The RKI says that there is currently insufficient data for a final assessment of the severity of the new respiratory disease. According to a recent analysis by China's health agency, 2.3 percent of people infected with Sars-CoV-2 die in the country. Accordingly, older people and those with serious pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are particularly affected. For people over 80 years of age, the death rate calculated from the data available there is just under 15 percent, meaning that an average of 15 out of 100 infected people die in this age group in China. In the group of 10 to 39 year olds, 0.2 percent of the infected, that is about 2 out of 1,000 people, die.

Experts assume that the mortality rate is actually lower than calculated in China, among other things because many mild infections that are not recorded in Chinese statistics. So far, there are no reliable analyzes of mortality from other countries.

What are the symptoms of the new corona virus?

Most people have only mild cold symptoms with chills and sore throats, or no symptoms at all. In addition, there may be fever, cough and difficulty breathing, as they also occur with the flu. Headaches or diarrhea are also possible.

According to the Chinese health authority, more than 80 percent of those infected have mild infection courses, almost 14 percent are seriously ill. Almost five percent have life-threatening effects such as respiratory arrest, septic shock or multi-organ failure.

The incubation period - the period between infection and the onset of symptoms - is usually 2 to 14 days according to the current status. This is the reason why suspicious cases are isolated for two weeks.

How can the new lung disease be treated?

There is no special therapy for the disease Covid-19. Seriously ill patients are treated symptomatically: with antipyretic agents, the treatment of any additional bacterial infections and sometimes mechanical ventilation. In individual cases, antiviral drugs are also tested.

Is there a protective vaccination?

No. A number of laboratories worldwide are currently researching vaccines such as those for the flu. The development of a vaccination takes a lot of time. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan believes that first vaccine tests on humans could begin in three to four months. A certified vaccine for widespread use will probably only be available in 18 months.

The U.S. biotech company Moderna reported on Monday that it had developed a vaccine candidate and delivered it to the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Its director Anthony Fauci announced the first clinical trials for late April, according to CNN. He also expected that it would take one to a year and a half before a vaccine was available.

How else can I protect myself from being infected?

To protect against this and other viruses, experts recommend regular hygiene measures: regular hand washing, disinfectants and a distance from the sick. Experts consider the benefits of normal breathing masks - as can currently be seen everywhere on the streets in China and other countries - to be rather small. It can help to limit hugs and shaking hands and not to touch surfaces such as doorknobs, grab handles and elevator buttons that are touched by many people.

Can I get infected if I get a package from China or other high risk areas?

It is fundamentally unclear how long the virus will survive on surfaces, says the World Health Organization. Studies suggested that it was a few hours or days, depending on conditions such as surface, temperature, or humidity. The authority classifies the likelihood that an infected person will contaminate the virus with goods. The risk that a recipient will be infected by a package that is exposed to different conditions and temperatures during transport is also low.

Imported food and goods such as toys, computers or clothing are also unlikely to be sources of infection, says the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Experts emphasize the importance of observing general hygiene rules, e.g. washing your hands regularly.

What do I do if I am afraid of being infected?

According to the RKI, anyone who has had contact with an infected person should first contact their health department, regardless of whether symptoms have occurred or not. Travelers from high-risk areas who have symptoms should consult a doctor after prior notification by telephone with a reference to the trip.

What can the state do in an emergency?

The essentials are regulated by the Nationwide Infection Protection Act (IfSG). A spokesman for the Bavarian Ministry of Health summarized: "If necessary, important fundamental rights such as freedom of the person, freedom of assembly or inviolability of the apartment as well as the right to physical integrity can also be restricted." Skin and mucous membranes demand. Even "suspects of illness" and "suspects of contagion" - as the law puts it - can be imposed on a professional ban. To protect others, people could also be "segregated in a suitable hospital or in some other suitable way," the law says. (vb; Source: Annett Stein, Anja Garms, dpa)

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Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • RKI: Answers to frequently asked questions about the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (as of February 26, 2020),
  • RKI: Does it make sense to wear mouth and nose protection in the general population to protect against acute respiratory infections? (As of February 19, 2020),
  • Federal Ministry of Health: Current information on the corona virus (as of February 26, 2020),

Video: Coronavirus in Germany I DW Documentary (December 2022).