The Corona events have gained momentum. The incidence, which is already very high, could still be moderated according to the motto: What the hell, that’s not much anymore. Unfortunately, two other key metrics are also currently rising faster than would be expected under Omicron conditions.
Indicator 1, the incidence: as expected, high
Classic for assessing the corona crisis: the incidence – number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.
It has been rising steeply in the Rems-Murr district for three weeks, from 169 on September 18 to 616 on October 6. By comparison, the fall wave of 2021 started later and got off to a slower pace – from an incidence of 94 on October 8 to well over 200 at the end of October.
During the entire pandemic period, there was only a stronger growth than today in early 2022, when Omicron replaced its predecessor Delta: the incidence shot from around 200 to around 800 within three weeks (and then further to more than 1800 in the spring) .
The autumn wave of 2022 is therefore under considerable pressure, but that was to be expected: we currently have almost no measures left, in the autumn of 2021 it was completely different. And besides, Omicron rules: very contagious, but not very dangerous.
In that regard, the incidence alone is no longer a reliable measure for classifying the corona situation. We need to take a closer look.
Indicator 2, hospitalization incidence: surprisingly high
How many of the newly infected people have ended up in the hospital in the past seven days? This is the incidence of hospitalization; this value is also given per 100,000, but not calculated for each district, but only for each federal state.
Assumption: Omicron is less dangerous than Delta – therefore the incidence of hospitalizations should be increasing more slowly now than in the fall of 2021.
Problem: The opposite is the case. In the autumn of 2021, from the end of September, it went from 2.3 to 3.4 within just under four weeks; a fairly flat increase on top of a low overall level. The peak was then reached at 6.6 in early December. Currently, on the other hand, the incidence of hospitalizations has increased from 1.4 to 7.0 in less than three weeks since September 19.
This value has only been calculated daily for Baden-Württemberg since September 2021, so no exact data is available for the early phase of the pandemic. However, the highest level recorded so far was in March 2022: 8.1.
Key figure 2 – also much hopsitalized in the Rems-Murr-Kliniken
Surprisingly high hospital admissions: this trend can also be observed in the Rems-Murr clinics. There are currently 80 Covid-infected people in clinical treatment at the same time. At the end of 2020, at the height of the second wave, i.e. before the vaccination, there were only more: around 90.
Now one might object: wait a minute, the hospitalization incidence is only meaningful to a limited extent. Because some of those affected may not have come to the clinic because of Covid, but because of other complaints – and only tested positive on the side.
Dr Torsten Ade, Chief Physician of the Interdisciplinary Emergency Department of the Rems-Murr-Klinikum Winnenden, points out: Yes, that’s right, the majority of these patients have “other diseases that are prominent, almost all of them suffer from chronic diseases. ” Just: “In people who are already in bad health on good days, i.e. without an additional infection, a viral infection, even if the symptoms are not severe, can lead to an aggravation of the other diseases” – which is exactly what ” we see regularly”.
Key figure 3, occupied intensive care beds: surprisingly many
How many Covid-infected people are currently in intensive care? Actually, it should be less this fall than the end of 2021, as Omicron rules.
A look at Baden-Württemberg: Recently, on September 11, the value was still at an all-time low, at 52. Since then, it has risen to 144 in just under four weeks.
In the fall of 2021, it went from the bottom (about 30 intensive care patients in mid-September) flatter: to about 100 in mid-October. The situation then came to a dramatic head – at the end of December, 642 intensive care beds across the country were occupied by Covid patients.
Even with indicator 3, we currently have a surprisingly significant increase – in the Rems-Murr clinics, however, this trend is currently only rudimentary: there are currently five infected patients in intensive care, two of them needing ventilation.
Torsten Ade again: “The classic oxygen-demand lung disease” is now “quite the rare exception”. Also in the intensive care unit, it is mainly pre-ill, high-risk patients whose health, already in poor condition, has deteriorated dangerously due to the viral infection that has been saddled with it.
Urgent question: why are the statistics so high?
Why do we currently have more hospitalizations than would be expected? Could it be that Omikron is suddenly hitting harder than expected?
Rather not. No evidence is available that the currently dominant omicron line B.A5 causes significantly more severe disease progression. Another explanation seems more plausible.
At present, it can be assumed that many more people are infected than the incidence statistics suggest. Many infections fly under the radar; either go undetected or at the very least go unrecorded because they are asymptomatic or, despite certain symptoms, are not verified by a PCR test. If we tested as much now as we did in earlier phases of the pandemic, the incidence in the Rems-Murr district would probably already be in the four-digit range.
But if the infection process has significantly more drive than officially registered, then logically follows that there are more difficult corridors.