Update: March 6th, 2020, 5:30 p.m. CET
Since Tuesday, the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Germany has tripled. On Tuesday evening, there were around 180 infected persons. On Thursday night, that number had increased to 545.
Twelve days ago, no Coronavirus patients were left in Germany, after the first wave had been contained successfully. Then the virus hit Europe at full throttle. Once northern Italy was affected badly, it was only a question of time until the virus would return to Germany.
Spread at Alarming Rate
Now, in the late afternoon on Friday, 624 cases are confirmed. Because the authorities are lagging behind what the registering and counting of infected patients is concerned, there are probably even more right now. The rate at which the virus spreads continues to be alarming.
Germany’s largest federal state, North Rhine-Westphalia, now has 324 confirmed Coronavirus cases, far more than the entire country had on Wednesday. Baden-Württemberg has 116 and Bavaria 96 infected persons. Lower Saxony stands at 18, Berlin at 19 and Hesse reported 15 cases on Thursday night.
One Province Without Infections
Hamburg and Rhineland-Palatinate have 8 cases each, Schleswig-Holstein, the province up in the very north-west, counted 7 Coronavirus patients, Mecklenburg Hither-Pomerania 5 and Bremen 4. All remaining federal states within Germany have one patient each, except for Saxony-Anhalt, the only province that does not have any.
In Berlin, Germany’s largest city with 3.7 million inhabitants, things are difficult for residents who believe they might have contracted the virus because of their symptoms. At a Coronavirus emergency admission point established at the Charité Virchow Clinic, a young man took the waiting number 190 at around 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.
Hours of Waiting in the Cold
Because he did not want to be infected by coughing individuals in a tent turned into a make-shift waiting room, just in case he was not infected already, he stood outside, in front of the entrance to the admission. Once he had waited for four hours, standing and coughing in the cold, it was number 140’s turn. He said only three patients per hour had been checked. Nobody in line understood why.
Next week, Berlin intends to establish at least three more emergency admissions for Coronavirus patients or those who believe they might be infected. The Vivantes Clinic in Berlin’s Neukölln district already has one. A sign (see main photo at top of page) leads the way to a black metal door, a waiting room and a Coronavirus ward. Since hardly anyone knew about this emergency admission, it seemed to be almost empty on Thursday afternoon.
Worse Situation in Western Germany
If the situation in Berlin is difficult, how should the one in North Rhine-Westphalia be described? In Heinsberg county, the region affected most, doctors who have been in contact with Coronavirus patients without protective clothing reportedly keep on working. Who else would do it for them otherwise? Representatives of the authorities there say their health system was close to collapsing.
Things are hardly any better in Bavaria, where several schools and kindergartens were closed. In Munich, high school students tested positive for the Coronavirus. In Würzburg, at least one school closed for the same reason. Within a day, 24 new cases were registered in Bavaria.
Virologist Expects Many Coronavirus Deaths
Christian Drosten, the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charité clinics told the ‘Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung’ daily, up to a quarter million Germans would possibly die from the virus. In order for the Coronavirus to stop spreading, two thirds of all Germans needed to be immune, at least temporarily, meaning more than 55 million people would have to be infected first for that to happen.
While no Coronavirus deaths have been reported in Germany so far, there were 148 in Italy, where more than 3800 people are infected. In France, seven Coronavirus patients died, three patients passed away in Spain. Switzerland and the United Kingdom reported one death each.
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