Will Covid-19 also threaten Germany soon?
The World Health Organization (WHO) currently confirms around 52,000 cases of infection with the new coronavirus Covid-19. Infection cases have been reported in 26 countries. More than 1,600 people have died from the virus. Even though China is primarily affected, the Robert Koch Institute recently warned that a worldwide pandemic is conceivable and that Germany is also at risk.
The number of people infected with corona rises every day - and in Germany the carnival is just around the corner. Reason for alarm? No, says an expert: There is currently no cause for concern in Germany.
Corona virus is spreading
Corona and no end: The number of sufferers continues to increase - and with Covid-19 the disease now has an official name. Dramatic pictures from China, canceled flights and cruises, canceled major events such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: it is clear that people in Germany are also worried.
Witzke: "Fears at the moment are irrational"
However, fears are still no reason to change your own behavior, says Oliver Witzke, director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and the West German Center for Infectious Diseases at the University Medical Center in Essen. "At the moment I think that is irrational - because the virus has not yet changed our living situation in Germany." Here is an overview of the most important questions and answers about Sars-CoV-2 and Covid-19:
How big is the risk of infection in Germany?
"There is basically no relevant risk in Germany to contract the corona virus," says Witzke. Assessing the situation in China is currently very difficult. In this respect, precautionary measures such as the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress are understandable. From this, the individual does not have to derive any need for action.
How dangerous is the virus and Covid-19 disease?
In China, more than 1,600 people have died from the disease. That is a high number, but for Witzke there is still no reason to panic. "It is important that the death rate has not been above the assumed two percent so far." This makes the risk for the individual very manageable, he says. The contagion cases in Germany have so far been very mild.
What role does the carnival play?
"The carnival worries me the same way as every year," says the infectious disease expert. This means that the corona virus does not play a role - the flu wave could get a new impetus. "However, this happens almost every year." So far, the flu wave has been rather mild, but that could still change. It is therefore too early to give the all-clear.
Do I have to protect myself - and how?
Protective measures continue to make sense - but against the flu and not the coronavirus. Specifically, this means above all intelligent coughing and sneezing, as Witzke calls it, i.e. in the crook of the arm and not in the fist. Constant disinfection of the hands, however, is superfluous for ordinary people. Regular hand washing with soap is enough.
Where can I find current information?
The Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Center for Health Education have set up corresponding websites. The World Health Organization gives more tips in English - including information about common myths and misinformation about the virus. (vb; source: dpa / tmn)
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
- Robert Koch Institute: Answers to frequently asked questions about the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (as of February 15, 2020), rki.de
- Federal Center for Health Education: Answers to frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) (as of February 14, 2020), infektionsschutz.de
- WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public (accessed: February 17, 2020), who.int
- WHO: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as of 16 February 2020, who.maps.arcgis.com