The second coronavirus wave feared by many has already hit Germany, according to the Marburger Bund medical association, the trade union which represents the professional and political interests of all physicians employed in the Bundesrepublik as well as medical students.
“We are already in a second, flat rising wave,” said the association's chairwoman Susanne Johna.
The numbers are not, however, comparable to what Germany saw at the height of the epidemic in March and April, when at times there were thousands of new cases per day.
Nevertheless, the amount of new infections is increasing. “This means that there is a danger that we will squander the success we have achieved so far in Germany in a combination of repression and a longing for normality,” warned Johna.
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Hospitals are prepared for a second wave, the head of the medical association said. In contrast to the first wave, hospital beds are not to be kept free on a flat-rate basis this time, but according to demand.
“As the pandemic is building up slowly, we must make treatment options available for Covid-19 patients in stages, i.e. introduce a staggered provision over time,” said Johna.
In practice, according to the Marburger Bund, a smaller number of intensive care beds will be kept available in stage one. If these are occupied, stage two will come into effect 24 hours later and the capacity in intensive care units will be expanded.
“This will continue step by step until, in the highest alarm and expansion stage, all intensive care capacities available for Covid-19 patients are exhausted,” said Johna.
'Face mask saves lives'
According to the Robert Koch Institute the latest available figures as of Tuesday August 4th show there have been 210,402 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases and 9,148 deaths in Germany.
In 24 hours there were around 500 new cases. Rising numbers have been fuelling worries about the second coronavirus wave.
Covid-19-related outbreaks have been happening in various settings, including agricultural companies, nursing homes and hospitals, facilities for asylum-seekers and refugees, as well as in context of religious or family events.
Authorities have also raised concerns about demonstrations where safety rules are ignored and parties.
Johna urged people to comply with hygiene rules and to wear masks. She compared the mask rule with the introduction of enforced seat belt wearing in cars, which was also met with fierce resistance at the time.
Just as the seat belt saves lives, “the mouth covering also saves lives”, said Johna.