The number of coronavirus cases has been rising over the past weeks in Germany to levels last seen in May. And there are big concerns that local outbreaks linked to celebrations, such as events, weddings or other parties, are fuelling the spike.
Now doctors' association, the Marburger Bund, says states should agree on uniform tighter rules for celebrations and parties in order to contain the further spread of coronavirus.
“In order to reduce the risk of infection, in autumn and winter as well, the states should soon agree on uniform rules for private and public celebrations of all kinds,” chairman Susanne Johna told the newspapers of the Funke Media Group on Tuesday August 18th.
She said it was important that there were limits to the number of guests and concepts in place for ventilation during indoor gatherings.
Health Minister Jens Spahn, of the centre-right Christian Democrats, said on Monday that celebrations are one of the greatest sources of danger when it comes to the spread of coronavirus in Germany, along with people returning from travel.
Spahn warned that stricter event bans or limits could be put in place due to the increasing cases.
In some states, indoor events with several hundred people are allowed again.
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But the Marburger Bund raised concerns about large numbers of people in closed spaces. “The greater the number of people celebrating indoors, the more likely it is that one person will infect the others,” warned Johna.
If the number of infections continues to rise, 150 guests at a family celebration or an indoor party would be too many, she argued.
Many people are careless, Johna said, because they look at the high rate of those who recover from Covid-19. But this also includes people who suffer from severe long-term damage. “There are estimates that the proportion of patients suffering from Covid-19 with secondary damage is in the upper single-digit range,” said Johna.
Well over 1,000 new cases
On Tuesday the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 1,390 new coronavirus infections within 24 hours.
A total of 225,404 people in Germany have contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, and 9,236 patients have died. Four deaths were reported on Monday. According to RKI estimates, around 203,000 people have survived the infection.
The reproductive rate, which measures how many people someone with Covid goes onto infect, has fallen from 1.21 to 1.11. However, this is still above the threshold of 1, above which an infected person will theoretically infect more than one other person.
The R number reflects the course of the infection around one and a half weeks earlier. The so-called seven-day R, which is less subject to daily fluctuations, stands at 1.04.
In the past month, the trend of a slowdown in the incidence of infections in Germany has been reversed, with the daily number of new infections rising for several weeks in a row.
Around 8,000 new infections have been registered in Germany in the past seven days. From August 4-10th, the figure was 6,148, compared to 5,112 new infections the week before.
At the peak of the infection rate in Germany in mid-April, the number of new infections registered per day exceeded 6,000 and there were several tens of thousands per week.
Authorities are desperate to keep numbers down so health care services are not overrun. They also want to avoid a second lockdown which would heavily impact people's livelihoods and the economy.