This is what intensive care physicians and RKI say about the increase in deaths

In mid-August, when the infection rate of the corona pandemic in Germany slowly increased again after a quiet summer, another number reached its previous annual low. The number of people who died of or in connection with a corona infection fell to 13 on a seven-day average. In some cases, the death rates were even in the single-digit range.

This was the last time in October 2020, i.e. before the second wave in Germany. An effect of the summer? Certainly not just because people in intensive care units often only die after months of fighting the virus.

The number of corona deaths remained at the low level for a week until the end of August – and has then increased continuously to this day. In the meantime, Germany has again recorded more than 60 deaths on a seven-day average. On Tuesday the number with 96 reached a value that was last exceeded in June.

It is now the case that the number of corona deaths has risen sharply, especially after the big waves. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) writes that deaths usually only occur two to three weeks after an infection. The Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi) names a period of around two months, which then lies between a sharp increase in the overall number of infections and the increase in the number of deaths.

So it was after the second wave, when after the sharp increase in the number of infections at the beginning of November, shortly before Christmas, a peak in the death rate was recorded. And the worst, third wave of infections in December was followed by the strongest increase in deaths in January and February.

After the more moderate fourth wave, the effect was not quite as high: the increase in the number of infections March was followed by fairly high death rates in April and May. The fact that the death rates could not be compared with those in winter at that time is attributed, among other things, to the increasing progress of vaccinations. This is presumably one of the reasons why the number of infections and deaths subsequently fell until August.

But why are the numbers rising now without the announced fifth wave, even if compared to the previous waves low level? The RKI’s answer to the Tagesspiegel’s request is quite simple: The institute attributes the increase in the number of deaths to the increased number of cases and the fact that older people are still unvaccinated.

More on the topic on Tagesspiegel Plus:

  • Covid – 18 despite vaccination : Breakthrough infections cannot be avoided
  • These people are with Corona in Berlin’s intensive care units
  • A “Freedom Day” for Germany? “The control of the unvaccinated is not effective “

Around 84 percent of people who have 60 years old, completely ge vaccinated, that is 20, 5 million people. But vice versa also 3.6 million unvaccinated people.

In fact, the number of infections in Germany has been rising continuously since July – and with a delay of up to two months now also the death toll. Only since the beginning of September have the number of infections been falling again on a seven-day average and are now on a kind of table. So it is possible that the death rate will continue to rise until the beginning of November. Then around two months have passed since the start of the increase in the number of infections.

According to virologist Christian Drosten, the increase in the number of infections until the beginning of September was not necessarily the start of the winter wave, but in particular the test in schools after the end of the summer vacation and cases introduced.

In view of the current quota of fully vaccinated in the population, he is assuming that they will roll away this year at a point in time like last year, said Drosten in the podcast “Coronavirus-Update” at NDR-Info. At that time it was clear in the second half of October “that we are going into an exponential increase again”.

Leading German intensive care physicians currently rate the number of deaths as inconspicuous. The death rate always correlated with the number of treated, invasive ventilated Covid – 19 – patients in intensive care units. Of these, half continue to die.

As a result, many of the patients who have come to the intensive care units in August with the increasing number of infections and thus also patients are probably dying. Since then a plateau has formed around the 1300 to 1400 Patients who are continuously treated in the intensive care units.

Due to the rotation of daily new admissions, discharged and deceased patients, the number of 17 until 25 Deceased in intensive care units per day can be expected. Since the beginning of September and until today the number of Covid treated in the intensive care units – 19 – patient is quite stable, according to the intensive care physicians, the number of deceased will not fluctuate greatly in the coming weeks and months.

Complete vaccination protected the elderly before death

Figures from the RKI confirm that the increase in the number of infections is already delaying the further increase in the number of deaths. These show that even small waves can have an impact on the death rate in the vulnerable age groups and that the majority of those who have died in recent weeks were not vaccinated.

Between the beginning of September and the beginning of October, around 1400 People in Germany died of or in connection with the coronavirus. During this time there were 144 people under 60 years after a breakthrough vaccination of Covid – 19 died.

According to the RKI figures, a full vaccination protected people over 60 years in around 90 Percent before death. For people younger than 27 years, there was exactly during this period a vaccination breakthrough that led to death.

And when looking at the entire pandemic, the picture is quite clear: Since the start of the vaccination campaign, 75 Percentage of 722 Covid – 18 – Cases with breakthrough vaccinations that have died, 80 years and older. This reflects the generally higher risk of death – regardless of the effectiveness of the vaccines – for this age group, writes the RKI in its current weekly report.

Of all deaths during the pandemic were 80. 583 Persons 70 years and older. This corresponds to around 86 percent. On average, the people were 84 years old. So far, however, the RKI has only 27 validated Covid – 19 – deaths under 20 – year-olds. In 17 cases existed.

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