Simple answers to complicated questions?

Dear readers,

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which corona measures were really necessary? Which deprivations are really useful? It makes sense to doubt that. Because many decisions about the pandemic had to be made in an absolutely exceptional situation. Looking back now can help understand which measures have had what effect. It’s complicated, but an assessment of the measures, such as the one by a panel of experts from the federal government that he intends to hand over to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on Friday, could theoretically be a first step. And then help do it better next time.

But does anyone really care? Now there is hardly any room for nuance in the public debate about the corona. Various camps have dug in and are all convinced that they have the only correct view of the pandemic. This is not just about #Team Drosten vs “lateral thinkers”. Even the experts often positioned themselves accordingly and clearly. It seems to be just a matter of deciding who was right. Not what was right.

There is no final “testimony on corona”

So who was right – cautious or relaxed? A simple answer to this complicated question is tempting. Because the pandemic demanded a lot from all of us. How nice it would be if someone officially sealed us at the end we did everything right. If someone said yes, you are right, it made sense that we jogged two meters in the spring of 2020. Or it would have been written somewhere: Yes, you are right, it was not necessary to put on a mask in a restaurant on the way to the toilet.

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But you will wait for it in vain. Even the report of the expert commission cannot be the final “corona testimony”. It’s not an easy way to put a thumbs down or thumbs up on every measure once and for all. Mask Requirement: Yes or No. Closing schools: yes or no. A report like this cannot possibly do that, as my colleague Saskia Heinze explains. And so it certainly does not mark the end of scientific research.

The committee plans to present the report on Friday afternoon. Then you can read all about it at RND.de – what else is important in this newsletter.

Stay strong!

Anna Schughart

what was important

What is the strategy for autumn? With a seven-point plan, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to prevent the growing number of infections from becoming a problem again in the fall. Parts of the concept include: a vaccination campaign with an adapted omicron vaccine; a pandemic radar designed to provide better predictions about new waves of coronavirus; as well as the procurement and hygiene concept for care facilities and care services.

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One measure of the Corona plan is already taking effect: the offer of free rapid tests has been “suspended” with a few exceptions. From Thursday, June 30, rapid tests on the state, and therefore on taxpayers, at testing stations or in pharmacies should be available only for certain groups. Exceptions are: Persons who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. Household members of infected persons, children under the age of five and residents and visitors to nursing homes, facilities for persons with disabilities and clinics should still be able to be tested for free. This also applies to people who, after a corona infection, need proof that they are negative again so that, for example, they can return to work. All others, on the other hand, will have to pay 3 euros in the future.

everyday knowledge

People in Lisbon get on the tram at Martima Moniz Square.  In the popular holiday destination of Portugal, the number of corona viruses is rising again due to the spread of the more infectious omicron subvariant BA.5.

People in Lisbon get on the tram at Martima Moniz Square. In the popular holiday destination of Portugal, the number of corona viruses is rising again due to the spread of the more infectious omicron subvariant BA.5.

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The omicron variant BA.5 now dominates the corona situation in Germany. With the new mutations, this virus strain even has an advantage in spreading over the already highly infectious mutants BA.1 and BA.2. So many people can be infected in a short time – even in summer. But do they get sick more often?

The omicron lines BA.1 and BA.2, which still circulate in winter and spring, are known to cause less disease than the previously dominant and highly lethal Delta variant. With the BA.5 this trend could be broken again. At least there are early indications of that. Because this omicron subtype carries, among other things, the “L452R” mutation. This was also the case with the Delta virus, and until now it was associated with a severe course of the disease. “I don’t think intensive care units will be overcrowded again, but the wheel is turning again towards the disease, yes,” said virologist Christian Drosten of Berlin’s Charité.

Pandemic in numbers

research progress

According to a Danish study, corona infection significantly increases the risk of Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the next twelve months. Compared to uninfected people, doctors were 3.5 times more likely to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in infected people, Pardis Zarifkar and her team write in the journal Frontiers in Neurology.

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It has long been known that respiratory diseases like corona lead to inflammatory reactions that can increase the harmful effect on nerve cells in the brain. However, it is unclear whether the corona infection did not cause Alzheimer’s disease in the examined cases, but only revealed the symptoms of the existing disease. It just turns out that symptoms are more often diagnosed after infection, said Peter Berlit, secretary general of the German Neurological Society.

Well said

I hope the school holidays will slow down the rise in cases. But I am afraid that by September we will have a very large number of cases.

Virologist Christian Drosten

in “Spiegel” about the prospects for Corona for Germany after the summer holidays

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Read here why Christian Drosten changed his mind and no longer assumes a relaxed autumn.

pandemics abroad

If you want to travel abroad during the summer holidays, you need to know what regulations about the corona virus apply when entering different holiday destinations. However, a look at other European countries shows that, despite the mostly rising number of cases, the measures for the corona virus have mostly been lifted.

In Portugal, however, the number of infected people is currently slightly higher. Measures against corona were also not abandoned to the same extent as in other countries. Rule 3-G continues to apply after entry, so tourists must prove they have been vaccinated, tested or recovered. As in Spain, there is an obligation to wear masks in public transport.

Hello additional knowledge

virus

virus

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How dangerous are monkeypox? The World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee did not initially classify the outbreak as an international emergency over the weekend. However, the Committee wants to quickly review the situation if the number of infected or affected countries increases sharply, if there are frequent cases among vulnerable groups, or if the virus changes. He is “deeply concerned about the spread of monkeypox,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Measures such as surveillance, risk communication, contact tracing, isolation, treatment and vaccinations must be stepped up to stop the outbreak, Ghebreyesus said. Member States must remain vigilant to prevent the spread. This also includes the equitable distribution of the vaccine.

My colleague Saskia Heinze talked to a monkeypox patient. He says, “From my own experience, I can only advise you to keep calm and have your doubts checked by a doctor.” You can read the full interview here (RND+).

Which makes life easier

Does it pay to be nice and kind in life? Or is it easier for selfish people? American researchers presented a new study that RND author Irene Habich looked at (RND+). According to the results, being nice has a positive effect on life circumstances in many ways, but not in every situation.

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“Nice” people were more likely to have satisfying and fulfilling personal relationships, both at work and in their personal lives. High scores on the so-called agreeableness scale also helped maintain a good work-life balance. However, “nice” people are also less assertive, avoid conflicts and stand up for themselves less. In addition, they could be used more easily. They also tended to be overly dependent on others.

What else is important

The soil in Germany is becoming dangerously dry.

The soil in Germany is becoming dangerously dry.

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This year’s summer in Germany started with June, which was “significantly” too warm, dry and very sunny. The problem: 2018 to 2020 were extremely dry years in Germany – and 2021, with its moderate temperatures and sufficient precipitation, is not enough to restore moisture to the soil. RND journalist Johannes Christ prepared the consequences of this: Time-lapse shows how Germany has continuously dried to a depth of 30 to 40 centimeters over the past seven weeks.

In the coming years, drought and drought are likely to occur more frequently in Germany and many other countries. The reason is rising temperatures, says Andreas Brömser of the DWD: “The amount of precipitation per year has hardly changed in recent years. On the other hand, it gets warmer and evaporation increases.”

If you have any suggestions or criticisms, contact our editorial office directly: magazin@rnd.de. We are happy!

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