New parameters for covid risk assessment of regions? The situation in hospitals is a new input for assessment
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute has set criteria for monitoring the risk of a particular region. Based on these parameters, the German authorities made recommendations to their citizens and adopted restrictive measures. The most important criterion so far has been a seven-day incidence. That is the number of new cases per week per 100 inhabitants.
In the meantime, the starting points for observing the riskiness of individual regions have changed. In a year and a half, a certain infection of the population was achieved, both through the overcoming of covids and through vaccination. The most at-risk group of the population - the elderly and the chronically ill - have been vaccinated almost entirely.
Now the population of the infected is dominated by younger residents who generally have a better immune system and milder symptoms of the disease. As a result, we have fewer hospitalized, seriously ill people who need respiratory support and finally fewer deaths.
These are also the main reasons for the easing of restrictions in the UK despite the significant growth of infected citizens. It is predicted that the number of newly infected could exceed 100 per day, but the number of hospitalized should be relatively drastically lower than in previous "waves" of infection.
In a similar way, the new situation is observed by experts from the German institute "Robert Koch" who believe that in addition to the incidence, the criteria of "occupancy" of hospital beds and the degree of burden on the health system should be considered.
Data on the percentage of covid-positive patients in “normal” wards, symptom intensity, and vaccination status are being collected. The so-called R factor, ie the number of people infected by one infected person, is still significant. All these parameters apply to German regions, but it would be good to introduce them when considering the situation in other European regions.
Risk of feeling "false security"
The main risk of such a "looser" assessment of the "Covid condition" by region is the feeling of false security in a situation with still low vaccination coverage of the population and post-Covid syndromes better known as "Long Covid" that occur in younger populations.
In any case, the new way of assessing the Covid situation by region is also welcome in Croatia if limited, effective anti-epidemic measures continue to be applied. This would be a way of "coexistence" with Covid, where economic activities would be possible, albeit of a smaller volume, but without interruption.
A critical start to the new school year
Another measure would help all countries to "move" more easily in the risky fall. The first month of classes after the summer school holidays should be "online" in all schools. During these 30 days, the number of newly infected after mass tourist trips would be filtered out and the risk of progressive spread of the infection in the general population would be significantly reduced.
The road to an end to the pandemic is a long one. From past experience we learn the steps for a new era. If we are able to draw lessons and change behavior on the examples of others, but also on our own examples from a year ago, we can hope for a better autumn and winter. Tourist trips are extremely necessary for a better distribution of income between the north and the south, urban and rural areas, but these trips are the biggest carriers of the infection from one region to another.
The "dance with the virus" continues.
Author: Nedo Pinezić, www.nedopinezic.com / Photo: Falkensteiner