Now that Berlin got rid of the mandatory mask rule in shops and restaurants, the number of new Corona infections started decreasing. There was hope this trend would continue.
Berlin, April 1st, 2022. Update: 9:48 a.m. CEDT (The Berlin Spectator) — Twenty-three months ago, on April 29th, 2020, a few weeks into the Corona pandemic, masks became mandatory in shops and public transport. Back then, the total number of Corona infections in Germany since the crisis had commenced was 160,000. Today, it is 21,375,039. Back then, there was a two-digit Seven Day Incidence, today it is 1,586.4.
Worst Case Scenario
Now that the number of new cases is extremely high, the Federal Republic of Germany follows many of its European neighbors, by lifting the compulsory mask rule everywhere, except in public transport, hospitals and care facilities. In Berlin, shoppers will feel sort of naked without masks, while they throw Greek tomatoes, Dutch cheese and American peanut butter into their carts at local supermarkets. On the other hand, they can always wear masks voluntarily. This is what some businesses are counting on.
The compulsory mask rule is gone now. Neighboring Brandenburg province will follow suit on Monday. Most supermarket chains and similar companies are hoping this approach will not backfire. They fear even more employees of theirs could get infected. Since there already are many sick notes, some shops might have to close temporarily if the new rules lead to more Corona infections. This is the worst case scenario.
Astronomically High Number
On the other hand, the rules included in Germany’s new Infection Protection Act might kick in at the right moment. For the first time in weeks, the numbers are falling, at least right now. Seven hundred ninety-four days after the first Corona infection was identified in Germany, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 252,530 new infection within 24 hours. Yes, this is an astronomically high number, but a week ago there were some 294,000 new cases, 44,000 more than today. Last Friday, the Incidence was 1,756.4. Today, the level is 1,586.4. At the same time, the number of Corona-related deaths does not seem to be dropping. Since yesterday, 304 Corona patients died. According to the RKI’s latest weekly report, the peak of the Omicron wave in Germany may have passed.
Berlin is one of the sixteen federal states Germany has, and it is the one with the lowest Seven Day Incidence. Today’s level is 915.8. All other states have four-digit Incidences. One of them, Saarland, is way above 2,000. In spite of the extremely high infection numbers, only two states, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania, made use of an option the new Infection Protection Act includes: They declared themselves Corona hotspots and will keep the old mask rules, for now.
Quarantine Without Symptoms
In the meantime, the Ministry of Health is working on changing the quarantine regulations. At this stage, infected persons and contact persons need to isolate themselves for ten days. After seven days, they can end their quarantine if they test negative. Soon, Germany might rely on the personal responsibility of its people. Persons who work in hospitals or care facilities might be the only ones who will be required to isolate themselves. The quarantine period could be decreased to five days. So far, there is a draft of this kind which is being discussed. Of course there is a reason behind this: Many Germans are in quarantine for at least seven days even though they do not have symptoms.
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