Berlin: Against National Trend, Corona Infection Numbers Increase

In Berlin, the Seven Day Incidence, and with it the actual Coronavirus infection numbers, have increased again, for eight consecutive days. The eastern district Treptow-Köpenick is the city’s Corona hotspot.

Berlin, December 23rd, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — With relatively strict measures, Germany managed to slow down the Delta variant-driven fourth Corona wave. It peaked on December 4th, 2021, when the Seven Day Incidence was above 440. Since, it has decreased. Today, it stands at 280.3, which is still a lot higher than it has been in all three previous Corona waves. But it is going in the right direction, at least for now.

Red Traffic Lights

In Berlin, the picture is different. Germany’s capital and largest city, with some 3.8 million inhabitants, has been registering an increase again, for eight days in a row. The infection numbers are on the rise, and the city’s Incidence is far higher than the national average. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), it stands at 333.6. At this stage, it is unclear whether the expected Omicron wave is responsible or what exactly pushes up the number of Corona cases in Berlin.

At this hospital in Berlin’s Kreuzberg borough, they still deal with hernia and other more harmless conditions. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The city state’s Corona alarm system has three traffic lights. One reacts to the development in regard to the Incidence, the second one to the hospitalization rate and the third one to the situation in Berlin’s intensive care units. At this moment, the hospitalization traffic light is yellow and the other two are red. Even without those traffic lights it would be obvious that the situation remains serious.

Postponed Surgeries

Some of Berlin’s districts have higher infection numbers than others. Since the Corona pandemic commenced two years ago, Neukölln, Reinickendorf, Mitte and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg were the capital’s hotspots most of the time. Not anymore. The eastern districts Treptow-Köpenick and Marzahn-Hellersdorf have Incidences above 400. Lichtenberg is above the average as well, while the lowest number was reported for Steglitz-Zehlendorf today. Its Incidence is 172.3.

In Berlin, 644 Corona patients are being treated at the city’s hospitals right now. The Charité university clinic deals with the most severe cases, but Vivantes hospitals treat Corona patients too. Some clinics, including the Vivantes Hospital in Friedrichshain, do not treat certain more harmless diseases anymore. Planned surgeries have been postponed for weeks at several locations. For instance, hernia patients will not get too far in Friedrichshain. The hospital there will give them appointments for examinations in late January, but no surgeries of this kind are taking place until further notice, because of the Corona situation.

Higher Vaccination Rate

Elsewhere, the situation is different. At the Vivantes Clinic am Urban, they actually do hernia surgeries and similar ones because they do not have that many Corona patients. The Berlin Spectator’s main editor’s double hernia was treated there yesterday. But, because of the danger the Omicron mutation of the Coronavirus poses, it is unclear whether more surgeries will have to be postponed soon. In Berlin, 213 Corona patients were in intensive care this morning. While 163 of them are being ventilated, 29 are connected to ECMO also known as artificial lungs.

In Berlin, the ongoing fourth Corona wave has led to 138,136 Corona infections until today, more than in any other wave. Experts fear this number might be exceeded by far once Omicron becomes the dominant Corona variant, which is expected to happen in January. Berlin’s Corona numbers may be above the national average, but so is its vaccination rate. According to the RKI, the German one is 70.5, while Berlin already reached 71 percent.

540 Omicron Cases

At least 540 persons in Germany are infected with the Omicron version of the Coronavirus right now. This is the official number of registered cases. The actual one might be a lot higher. The President of the Robert Koch Institute, Professor Lothar Wieler, said the fact that Germany’s Corona infection numbers were falling right now was not really a tension release. An overburdening of the German health system needed to be expected because of Omicron. He asked people to keep their contacts to a minimum during the upcoming Christmas days.

More than 600 Corona patients are hospitalized right now. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

As Health Minister Karl Lauterbach stated, a fifth Corona wave cannot be prevented from hitting anymore. According to him, booster vaccinations give people a protection of 70 to 80 percent in regard to symptoms, and one of more than 90 percent against a severe disease progression. Lauterbach said the Moderna vaccine was a good product which needed to be used for booster shots, also because it was available in large amounts. Germany almost ran out of Biontech vaccine. Only a few million doses are in stock.

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