AThe new corona virus has also arrived in Germany. There are many unanswered questions about the previously unknown lung disease called Sars-CoV-2. We have compiled the most important facts and information from our previous WELT research for you.
You will also be informed about the current development in our live ticker.
Why is it important to find out more about Corona now?
In Germany, too, there are hundreds of infections with the novel corona virus (the current figures can be found on this website). “We are at the beginning of a corona epidemic in Germany,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn. “The infection chains are partly – and this is the new quality – not understandable.”
A conversation with Jens Spahn about the seriousness of the situation can be found here.
Covid-19 spreads in Germany, the number of cases increases every day. Birgit Herden, Wiebke Hollersen and Jennifer Wilton have researched what that means.
An overview of all cases registered so far sorted by federal states you’ll find here.
Epidemic expert Alexander Kekulé told our colleague Elke Bodderas how bad it will be for Germany.
Do Europe and Germany have pandemic plans?
European politicians are also currently discussing a plan for the coming weeks. One of the goals is to avoid panic in Europe, but to be prepared for all eventualities. The EU Commission has announced that it will provide 232 million euros in the fight against the corona virus. It is advisable to find out now how you can protect yourself against infection.
According to Health Minister Spahn, Germany has a national pandemic plan should the situation deteriorate significantly. Spahn has also asked the federal states to update their respective state pandemic plans. Contingency plans for hospitals and public life are currently being considered. The pandemic plans also contain guidelines on how to inform the population and how to inform doctors and nurses.
Read here what a pandemic could mean for the German population.
What do I have to have at home? Our business editorial team has compiled all information about checklists and emergency strategies in the event of a pandemic.
Read here how far the Federal Republic can go to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
How many people have been infected, died or recovered worldwide so far?
The current figures for Germany – broken down by state – have that Robert Koch Institute listed here. To date, over 3,300 people have died worldwide, but around half of the patients have also recovered from the new coronavirus and are considered to have recovered.
The current figures and an overview of all countries can be found on this website at Johns Hopkins University.
How deadly is the virus?
The actual Death rate of Covid-19 is still difficult to estimate. However, it could be slightly higher or even significantly higher than that of a normal flu wave, which is less than 0.1 percent. At the moment there are still many questions to be answered. According to current knowledge, it is around two percent in the particularly affected region of Hubei in China. That means: Two out of a hundred infected people died there.
Our colleague Norbert Lossau has written down here why we tend to misjudge dangers.
What are the symptoms of the condition?
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), signs of infection with the lung disease are complaints such as cough and runny nose, sore throat and fever, and sometimes diarrhea. Many people have only mild cold symptoms. It is hardly possible for laypeople to distinguish the Covid-19 disease caused by the virus from regular flu or a flu-like infection. It seems to be typical that the runny nose is less severe and that a cough or fever soon appears.
Chinese researchers have evaluated more than 70,000 cases, and 80 percent of those infected are said to be only slightly ill. About one in five became seriously ill. About five out of a hundred infected people became seriously ill. The incubation period – The period between infection and the onset of symptoms – is usually two to 14 days according to the current status.
A pharmacist told our colleague Claudia Ehrenstein what symptoms and concerns people are currently coming to her with.
How is the new lung disease transmitted?
Especially by Droplet infection. The virus multiplies in the throat and not in the lungs, as was initially assumed. Researchers have also detected many viruses in the throat of people who have just been infected and are not yet feeling sick.
From the throat, the viruses can get out of the body very quickly, faster than from the lungs: when coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. It can also get on surfaces, you can also become infected if you pick it up there with your hands and then touch your face, i.e. by smear infection.
There are basically three Transmission paths possible: on the one hand as direct infection through fine droplets, which arise when coughing or sneezing and float in the air for a few seconds; then by touching surfaces on which these droplets have landed. But one is also conceivable Airborne transmission. It occurs when the liquid evaporates from the finest droplets and gel-like particles are formed.
In addition to salts and proteins, they can also contain viruses and float in the air for hours. Such a transmission path is known, for example, from measles and some rhinitis viruses. Some experts have suspected that the new corona virus could also be transmitted through the air, but no one knows more about it.
You can find out which hygiene rules you should follow in this video.
Which population group is most at risk?
Anyone can get infected with Sars-CoV-2, but Covid-19 does not break out with the same severity in everyone. Who is a weakened immune system or has a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes, but is more prone to infection. For most infected people, it feels like a cold.
According to the current status, children transmit the virus, but have so far hardly been affected. You don’t know why yet. Older people and men in particular are among the previous patients.
What are the differences from a flu or cold?
Covid-19 appears to be significantly more contagious than flu, and unlike the flu, a new pathogen encounters an “immunologically naive” population – our immune system has no previous experience with this virus. Unlike flu, there is no vaccination and little is known about effective treatment. It is also not yet clear which patients the course is likely to be difficult. In addition, there is probably the much higher death rate. The Covid 19 epidemic could therefore prove to be more dangerous than a normal flu season.
So far, however, the risk of contracting influenza and cold viruses in Germany has been far higher than an infection with the novel corona virus. Therefore, special rules of conduct currently only apply to people who have had contact with a person who is infected with the virus, who were traveling in an area where cases of Covid-19 occurred. Learn the differences between corona infection and flu in this video.
Does a flu shot help against Corona?
A flu shot does not help against the new corona virus. According to the chairman of the pharmacists’ association in North Rhine-Westphalia, Thomas Preis, a flu shot could help in the event of severe stress on the organism. In the worst case, if flu and a coronavirus disease come together, a previous vaccination is advisable, especially for particularly vulnerable people such as older citizens or people with a weakened immune system. A general recommendation for influenza vaccination from the Permanent vaccination committee of the Robert Koch Institute does not currently exist.
Our colleague Claudia Liebram wrote down for whom it makes sense to have a flu shot.
When is there a vaccine?
Many scientists and companies are currently working on a vaccine against the Sars CoV-2 virus. According to experts, however, it will only be available in about a year. At the moment, doctors can only alleviate the symptoms of the sick. In addition, they try to reduce the viral load in the body with antiviral agents such as Tamiflu and Kaletra. Tamiflu is a virostatic against influenza viruses, Kaletra is used for HIV-positive people.
In China, authorities and scientists are trying an unconventional approach: they collect blood plasma from the healed. It contains antibodies to the virus. Sars-CoV-2-infected are currently being treated as a trial.
Our colleague Jens Lubbadeh wrote down here when a vaccine can be expected.
Do I have to get a face mask?
A mouthguard can be useful when you are infected to protect others. It is also recommended for people who care for infected patients. However, there is no reliable evidence that it protects healthy people as a general precaution. Simple mouth-nose masks made of paper or cellulose do not reliably stop viruses and can create a feeling of false security. They would also have to be handled carefully and disposed of immediately after use. Special FFP masks (“Filtering face Piece”) only offer protection for a few hours.
Regular and thorough hand washing is more important than wearing masks including disinfecting. The demand for respiratory protection measures is currently enormous and supplies are becoming scarce. The fact that masks are becoming scarce is also due to the fact that production is stalling – a side effect of the corona virus.
You can find out here whether you should accept parcels from China.
Which hygienic measures protect against the corona virus?
When coughing and sneezing, keep your distance and turn away from other people. If you sneeze or cough, you should blow your nose or a handkerchief and sneeze. Handkerchiefs should be disposed of immediately. You should wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. Hand disinfectant you can get in the drugstore, pharmacy or in the well-stocked supermarket. In the pharmacy you can get the agents that are also used in health care, in the drugstore there are sometimes less effective hand disinfectants. It is important that the term on the label “Limited virucidal” stands. Only then does the agent work against enveloped viruses such as Sars-CoV-2, which is sensitive to certain alcohols.
You can find more information on hygienic precautions in our interview with an expert.
What do I do if I think I am infected?
In this case, you should protect your fellow human beings, both your social environment and other fellow human beings. Report sick at work and withdraw if possible – as you should do otherwise with a cold or flu. Anyone who has had contact with infected people should report to the health department regardless of symptoms. Your responsible Health department can be found here. This also applies if you are currently traveling in another country and want to return to Germany. You can also contact your family doctor.
More important Note: Before you go to the practice, but be sure to call beforehand and never travel on your own or in a taxi or bus. This minimizes the risk of catching other people in the waiting room or on the street.
What do I do if I have had contact with an infected person?
Anyone who has reasonable grounds to suspect that they are infected with Sars-CoV-2 should avoid unnecessary contacts and stay at home – just like with the flu. Also important, and for everyone: good hand hygiene, that is, regular washing with soap, a safe distance of one to two meters from sick people, and proper coughing and sneezing – in the crook of the arm.
Can you still travel?
The German travel industry is preparing for a difficult year in view of the corona virus. Travel restrictions are not yet proportionate, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. According to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, however, the authorities are increasingly taking a closer look at what is happening when entering Germany: Anyone who comes to Germany by bus or train, for example, should have to fill out special “drop-out cards”.
In addition to China and South Korea, Italy in particular is currently affected and has sealed off crisis regions. Federal Minister of Health Spahn announced a targeted information campaign for Return travelers from northern Italy on. There are 18 in France and four new cases have been reported from Switzerland. Special measures have been taken in Singapore. The USA has also tightened its entry requirements for travelers from crisis areas. Iran’s tourism industry, where the main travel season is actually almost a month before the Persian New Year “Norus”, is currently suffering. Antarctica is currently the only continent where the virus has not yet arrived.
Our colleague Daniel Zwick wrote down what rights consumers now have on trips that have already been booked.
What does the corona virus mean for my money and the economy?
To further curb the spread, China’s banks want to define old banknotes. Depending on the severity of the outbreak in the respective province, the notes are to be quarantined for seven to 14 days and only then put back into circulation. Such measures are not yet planned for Germany. From a hygienic point of view, it makes sense to be paid by Girocard or to use the possibility of contactless payment (mobile payment).
China is Germany’s most important Clothing supplier. Here you can find out what consequences the corona crisis will have on supply chains in the near future. Our colleague Caroline Turzer researched how German companies such as Aldi, Rewe, Siemens and Deutsche Bank react to Corona.
How to protect your savings find out here.
Our colleagues Daniel Eckert and Holger Zschäpitz will inform you about pandemic bonds, important share purchases or whether you have to fear for your savings (video).
Find out why the biggest losers in the corona crisis are Asia and Germany.
What is the virus Sars-CoV-2?
The Covid-19 pathogen Sars-CoV-2 is genetically very closely related to the Sars pathogen Sars-CoV, which is why it has been given the very similar technical name. It is one of the corona viruses that are so named because of the jagged structures on their surface. Seven representatives of this group cause respiratory diseases in humans, such as a runny nose or cough. Sars-CoV-2, including three, is known to sometimes cause severe symptoms.
Around 8,000 cases of the Sars virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome), also from China, became known in 2002/2003, and around 800 people died. In 2012, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus appeared in the Near East. It’s less contagious, but more aggressive: from around 2,500 people infected by November 2019, just under 860 died – about one in three.
Where does Sars-CoV-2 actually come from?
The virus is most likely derived from a virus that previously infected bats. Perhaps it did not jump directly onto humans, but had an intermediate host, possibly pangolin.
Where can I find current information?
Note: The article is updated continuously.