VIrologist Hendrik Streeck believes that a beginning relaxation of the strict conditions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is possible. Because most people were “so active and disciplined”, it was now possible to enter “phase two”, Streeck said on Thursday. However, it is important that hygienic behavior continues to be adhered to. “We have learned how to behave correctly in terms of hygiene,” said Streeck.
The scientist from the University of Bonn, on behalf of the NRW state government, is investigating how the coronavirus has spread in the particularly affected district of Heinsberg. There is now a first interim report.
According to the study, an infection was found in 15 percent of the citizens examined in the Gangelt community, which is particularly affected by the coronavirus. These first, but scientifically representative interim results are a rather conservative calculation, said the virologist. According to this, 15 percent of the citizens in the community have now also developed immunity to the virus.
The probability of dying from the disease is 0.37 percent based on the total number of people infected. The corresponding rate currently calculated by the American Johns Hopkins University in Germany is 1.98 percent and is five times higher, said Streeck.
The district administrator of the district of Heinsberg Stephan Pusch (CDU) said the restrictive protective measures had an effect. The curve of the infection numbers flat out. “The Heinsberg district slid past a huge disaster.” Hygiene professor Martin Exner said that residents of old people’s homes and nursing homes must continue to be strictly protected. In certain areas of public life, observing hygiene measures and distance rules, the requirements can be “controlled reduced.” But a “restrictive policy” must continue to be maintained in old people’s homes and nursing homes.
“It cannot be ruled out that a longer period of abstinence from the most vulnerable sections of the population must be maintained,” said Exner in a joint press conference with Hendrik Streeck. Wearing a face mask is particularly important in old people’s homes. Investments in protective materials are therefore particularly necessary in this area. He also considered it possible to hold high school exams if distance and hygiene measures were observed.
Exner underlined the importance of hygiene measures in the fight against the corona virus. The virus could also survive in areas over a long period of time. In order to trigger a corona infection, the virus had to get into the mucous membranes – for example through the mouth or eyes. Washing the hands thoroughly with soap removes the viruses well and can “inactivate them”, said the director of the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health. It sounds banal, but it is important to train such hygiene measures. The virus is mainly transmitted by droplet infection – such as coughing. That is why wearing a face mask is essential in hospitals.
Gunther Hartmann, professor of clinical chemistry and pharmacology at the University of Bonn, also reported that, after initial cautious assessments, it can be assumed that the severity of the disease could be reduced through hygiene measures. “The number of pathogens affects the severity of the disease in the case of initial infections.” At the moment, it can be assumed that immunity after a coronavirus infection lasts for about six to 18 months.