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Berlin: The First Corona Patient and his Ordeal

Corona reached Berlin exactly two years ago, on March 1st, 2020. But it feels like an eternity. The German capital’s first Corona patient went through a lot. So did everyone he came in contact with.

Berlin, February 28th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Berlin’s Charité is one of best hospitals in Germany, no doubt. There is a lot of expertise and the university clinics that belong to the organization are equipped well. For two years, the Charité treats the most severe COVID-19 cases the capital has. Until today, doctor and nurses in the Corona ward give it all, and they do so 24 hours per day.

Bad Case of the Flu

At the theater or the opera, the final rehearsal is supposed to be screwed up. When this happens, the premiere will usually be flawless. At the Charité, it was the other way around. The preparation for Corona was flawless, which is why the premiere was completely screwed up. It happened at a time when Berlin became the tenth out of sixteen federal states to be hit by Corona, but somehow nobody seemed to expect it.

In early 2020, the Virchow Clinic set up a Corona test center outdoors. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Patient number 1, a young man from Berlin’s ‘Mitte’ district, had symptoms that may have pointed towards a bad case of the flu. He definitely was unwell when he was taken to the Charité’s Virchow Clinic on Sunday, March 1st, 2020, by ambulance. So, while the new Coronavirus was spreading in Europe, this young man with typical Corona symptoms was taken to a hospital with some of the best experts Germany has. But they did not seem to suspect Corona.

Sent Back Home

The man from ‘Mitte’ was checked for several illnesses he did not have. Then, Berlin’s first Corona patient was sent back home. If the virus had a Facebook account, it would definitely have clicked the ‘Like’ button under any reports about this case, because it now had the opportunity to do what it does best, which is to spread. This is exactly what happened.

Hours later, on Sunday evening, the young man’s samples were checked for the new virus because the Charité had a new rule: Patients with certain symptoms who test negative for influenza will automatically be checked for the Coronavirus. The problem was that the test was not done when the man was still on site. On March 1st, 2020, at 9:00 p.m., Berlin’s first Corona patient was finally identified.

Emergency Admission Closed

Obviously, the positive test led to big problems. First of all, the patient had to be transported back to the hospital ASAP. In the late evening, he finally was where he belonged, at an isolation ward. Since he had been checked by several doctors and nurses earlier that day, all of them had to be quarantined. The emergency admission he had come through was shut down.

At the Virchow Clinic, issues popped up two years ago. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

At the same time, the local health authority in ‘Mitte’ tried to find all of the patient’s contact persons. On Monday, March 2nd, 2020, they had listed 60 of them. These were the times of Alpha, the first Corona variant. Since the virus had just come in from China, Germany’s virologists and other experts did not know that much about it. The fact that patient number 1 was checked for Corona too late led to a big chaos. When this happened, there were a total of 150 confirmed cases in Germany. Today, the total number of Corona infections in Germany since the crisis commenced is 14,745.107.

Looking for the daily Corona update for Germany? Find it here.
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2022
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2021
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2020

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