IIn the Corona summer wave, the Robert Koch Institute is recognizing a downward trend, but is still not giving the all-clear. The nationwide seven-day incidence fell significantly by a total of 21 percent last week compared to the previous week, according to the institute’s weekly report on Covid-19 on Thursday evening. The incidences have fallen in a weekly comparison in all federal states and age groups. However, the general infection pressure remains high, the authors warn. “The associated burden on the healthcare system also remains high, even if the operational situation has improved slightly in the past week.”
The values for acute respiratory diseases in the general population, such as the number of doctor visits, have fallen compared to those in the previous week – but are still higher than in previous years at this time, the RKI experts point out. In addition, outbreaks in nursing homes continued to increase. When it comes to deaths related to the virus, the RKI recently spoke of a fairly stable level – with 444 deaths reported in the last week.
With a view to the coming weeks, the institute expects a “continued high number of hospitalizations, Covid 19 patients requiring intensive care and deaths, especially in older age groups”.
The omicron subline BA.5 has increased somewhat at a high level and, according to the latest available data, has been found in more than 92 percent of the positive samples. The RKI also calls for “absolutely” complying with the recommendations for avoiding infection.
Millions of people continue to need vaccinations
In view of the corona pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute still sees a need for millions of people to be vaccinated – although slightly more vaccinations were administered in July than in the previous month. The booster vaccination continues to provide very effective protection against severe courses, even in Omicron times, which is why, in addition to starting vaccination for the unvaccinated, vaccination gaps must also be closed for those who have only had basic immunization so far, as an RKI team said in the new monthly report on Covid 19 vaccinations on Thursday writes.
According to the experts, around 1.3 million people over the age of 60 and around 7.8 million people under the age of 60 who are only basic immunized would have to refresh their vaccination protection with at least one vaccination. Around 7.3 million adults under the age of 60 and 1.9 million over the age of 60 would not have received a vaccination at all. Little has changed here compared to the previous month.
Specifically, according to current monitoring as of the beginning of August, a good 85 percent of the adult population is basic immunized, a good 72 percent have received a first booster vaccination, almost 10 percent a second.
No more payments to corona test centers
The statutory health insurance associations have meanwhile stopped payments to the corona test centers. “The legal requirements that the Federal Ministry of Health should have created so that a legally compliant payment is possible are missing. Since this has not happened, no payments can be made at the moment, ”said the spokesman for the North Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV) in the Düsseldorf newspaper Rheinische Post.
The head of the North Rhine Association of Pharmacists, Thomas Preis, told the editors: “It is a scandal that the operators of test centers will not initially receive any money for their work in July. Because the Federal Ministry of Health and KVen cannot agree, the latter are currently not paying out. The test centers are stuck with the high costs for material, staff and rooms. When the next corona wave comes, we need sufficient test centers in the area.”
The background: the current test ordinance stipulates that there is an obligation to provide evidence, which decides whether the citizen can take the test free of charge, pay an additional three euros or have to bear the entire cost themselves. The KVs fear that they will be held liable for fraud. “These regulations are accompanied by a considerable additional bureaucratic burden, without it being possible to actually guarantee compliance with the eligibility requirements – this applies in particular to the prevention of any fraud scenarios,” said the KV spokesman.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the number of test sites has almost halved: there are only 4,429 test sites, a year ago, according to the NRW Ministry of Health, there were 8,633.