While the number of infections is rising again worldwide in the corona pandemic, experts are discussing the effects on diseases in winter. Then Corona and the flu wave could collide. Germany has a record amount of vaccine ready for this.
Scientists warn against clashes
In a study, 37 British scientists specifically warned of the coincidence of the corona pandemic and a flu epidemic. In addition, there is a higher risk of infection in winter because people then spend more time in closed rooms. As a result, a second corona outbreak between September and June 2021 could be significantly worse than the first, emphasize the researchers. They assume a “worst-case scenario” for Great Britain with up to 120,000 deaths. So far, the UK has more than 41,500 people who have died of or with the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
According to the World Health Organization, Europe must prepare for an increase in daily corona deaths in autumn. WHO Regional Director Kluge told AFP that October and November would see higher mortality rates. He also warned against placing too high expectations on vaccines. It is still unclear whether a vaccine can help all population groups, emphasized Kluge.
Masks and distance – how high is the risk of infection anyway?
Due to the distance rules and the increased hygiene behavior, the general risk of infection is currently lower than usual, said the federal chairman of the German Association of General Practitioners, Ulrich Weigeldt, of the Funke media group. He advocates maintaining the rules of conduct that have now been rehearsed even after the end of the pandemic: “Above all, frequent and thorough hand washing and ventilation.”
Flu virus infections have apparently decreased significantly in countries in the southern hemisphere as a result of the corona measures. This is shown by data that the US health authority CDC has evaluated. Accordingly, a corresponding influenza infection between April and July was only detected in 51 of more than 83,000 samples from Australia, Chile and South Africa. In the previous years there had been an average of 24,000 positive results from 178,000 samples in these countries. The CDC does not consider a connection with the measures to contain corona, such as keeping one’s distance or masks to be proven – but plausible. The findings would indicate that appropriate measures could be a useful addition to the flu vaccination in order to protect particularly risk groups, it says. The CDC suspects that the flu epidemic in the northern hemisphere could be significantly smaller this winter if the measures to contain the corona virus are continued.
Because of the low number of flu cases in the spring, the RKI ended the influenza season two months earlier than usual. This normally lasts from the beginning of October to mid-May. The virologist at the University of Münster, Stephan Ludwig, said on Deutschlandfunk that the flu-like infections in Germany during the lockdown in spring had suddenly decreased, but the SARS-CoV-2 virus had “held up well”, even on warm days inside. Corona does not show this kind of seasonality that you can see with flu, for example, he emphasized: “Conversely, this could mean that it is not as bad in winter or autumn, when it gets cooler, as it does for example a flu epidemic can happen. ” Ludwig emphasized, however, that all such considerations are currently more “on the level of hope than on the level of knowledge”.
Spahn advocates fever clinics
Federal Minister of Health Spahn advocates setting up so-called fever clinics. It is about having an infrastructure that ensures that people do not get infected from one another in the waiting room, said the CDU politician. He spoke of specialist consultation hours, specialist practices and regional fever clinics to which patients should be able to turn to “classic respiratory symptoms such as corona and flu” in the future.
Broad advertising for vaccinations
German pediatricians urgently advise parents to get their children vaccinated against flu this fall. Children transmit the influenza virus significantly, said the chairman of the German Society for Pedriatic Infectious Diseases, Johannes Huebner, of “Welt am Sonntag”. Every winter, many children have to be hospitalized because of the flu and even have to be supplied with oxygen. Apart from the risks to the health of children, there is a social obligation to protect others in times of the corona pandemic.
The World Health Organization even recommends regular influenza vaccination for all children from the age of six months. In the United States, nearly 60 percent of children are currently vaccinated, and the number is rising. In the EU, the first countries are following the WHO recommendation to have all children also vaccinated against the flu, such as Great Britain and Finland.
The President of the German Medical Association, Reinhardt, called on teachers and daycare staff to get vaccinated against flu. The expected flu wave should not endanger the operation of schools and daycare centers, he told the Funke media group. Due to the applicable distance and hygiene rules, the flu wave could be more harmless than in previous years. Nevertheless, vaccination is important, also in view of the pandemic. The flu vaccine does not work against the coronavirus, but like any vaccination it is a training program for the immune system.
STIKO has not yet changed vaccination recommendations
The Standing Vaccination Commission has not yet changed its recommendations and has expanded them to include children (as of September 21). The STIKO also says that the annual flu vaccination should be carried out by everyone “who has an increased risk of being particularly seriously ill. This includes people over the age of 60, the chronically ill of all ages, pregnant women and residents of old people’s and nursing homes. “
How many vaccine doses does Germany need?
Weeks ago, Federal Health Minister Spahn advised against the flu vaccination under the current conditions: At the same time, a major flu wave and the pandemic would be difficult for the health system to cope with, said the CDU politician. For the next flu season, there will be around 25 million vaccine doses than ever before.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute considers the quantities of flu vaccine to be sufficient at the start of the new influenza season. There is currently no shortage of flu vaccine for the 2020/21 influenza season in Germany, said President Klaus Cichutek of the German Press Agency a few weeks ago. “We expect manufacturers to provide at least 21 million cans.” 13.6 million cans have already been approved for Germany after batch testing. That’s a normal amount for this time of year.
The EU Commission appealed with a view to flu illnesses, in addition, for example, the cross-border transfer of medical staff and patients must be made easier.
RKI on the risk of flu viruses
The President of the Robert Koch Institute, Wieler, pointed out that in some regions of the world influenza surveillance is being neglected for reasons of cost. But it is particularly important for vaccine development that the investigations continue. The flu vaccine is updated every year to reflect the changing strains of the virus.
According to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute, five to 20 percent of the population are infected during a flu wave. The number of deaths varies depending on the severity of the outbreak. According to the RKI, a particularly large number of people died from the flu in the 2017/2018 season, namely around 25,000. Nevertheless, only about a third of the German population is vaccinated. The goal of the WHO and the EU is 75 percent.
Vaccinations also possible in pharmacies
In order to get closer to this level of vaccination coverage, those with statutory health insurance in parts of North Rhine-Westphalia can generally get vaccinated against influenza in pharmacies from the next flu season. The model project is unique in Germany and will initially run for three years. Vaccinations in the doctor’s offices are still possible, it said. The flu season starts in autumn. Then is the best time to have a vaccination. The peak of the flu wave is usually in January / February.
Every second German wants to be vaccinated against the flu
Around every second German wants to be vaccinated against flu this year, according to a survey. In the survey by the Civey Institute for the “Augsburger Allgemeine”, 51.5 percent of the 5,002 respondents planned to be vaccinated this year as early as August. On the other hand, 41.3 percent rejected a vaccination. Older people in particular expressed their willingness to be vaccinated against influenza. In a similar survey from the previous year, only around 30 percent of those questioned said they wanted to be vaccinated.
Further articles on the coronavirus
We have created a news blog. In view of the large amount of information, this provides an overview of the most important current developments.
Numbers and dates
+ Current developments: Figures on the coronavirus in Germany (as of 25.09.)
+ Worldwide record numbers for new corona infections (as of 21.09.)
+ Classification: What numbers do we mention about the coronavirus and why (as of: 08/22)
+ Undiscovered infected people: How high the number of unreported coronavirus infections is (as of 02.09.)
+ New development: Why the corona death rate is so low and the number of infections so high (status: 04.09.)
Test and protection
+ Treatment: This is how far vaccine research against the coronavirus is (as of: 25.09.)
+ Infection: What we know so far about reinfections and immunity against the coronavirus (as of: 25.08.)
+ Face masks: What you should know about protective masks (as of: 24.09.)
Contagion and Transmission
+ Transmission: What role do aerosol particles play in transmission? (As of: 08/12)
+ Prevention: How the second wave of coronavirus currently stands (as of: 27.08.)
+ Autumn: What to do when the corona and the flu wave collide (as of: 21.09.)
+ Symptoms: What are the long-term consequences of a corona infection? (Status: 08.08.)
+ Shopping carts and co .: How long the coronavirus stays on surfaces (as of 08.08.)
Vacation and free time
+ Customs: What is left of the carnival in this session (as of 19.09)
+ Travel warning: The current list of risk areas (as of 25.09.)
+ Travel expenses: Full reimbursement even without travel warning (as of: 06.09.)
+ Travel planning: What is the situation like in the European holiday countries? (As of 23.09.)
+ Travel returnees and party goers: Those who are currently driving the German infection numbers up (as of August 27)
+ Travel: The current regulations in Germany (as of August 16)
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