Reality Check – The Covid-19 Situation in Germany in December 2020
A reality check is always nice, especially when it comes to finding out whether or not old predictions were good.
I have written earlier about Covid-19 and its impact on our lives. My latest article (click here) is one month old and I made some predictions for today.
Let´s now see where we are today and what was right and what was wrong in my earlier evaluation.
Here is a recent article about the situation in Germany today (click here)
590 corona deaths in Germany
Status: 09.12.2020 07:26 a.m.
Despite the partial lockdown, the number of deaths and newly infected people in Germany remains high. The health authorities reported 590 deaths to the RKI within 24 hours. Health Minister Spahn is particularly concerned about nursing homes.
The number of coronavirus-related deaths reported within 24 hours has skyrocketed and has reached a new high. The German health authorities reported 590 new deaths within one day to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). That is 103 cases more than the previous record of 487 deaths last Wednesday.
20,815 new infections
A total of 20,815 new infections with the coronavirus were reported within 24 hours. On Wednesday the previous week, the value was 17,270. The highest daily value so far was on November 20 with 23,648 cases. The number of daily deaths had tended to go up recently, which was expected after the steep increase in new infections.
The total number of people who died with or with a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 rose to 19,932 on Wednesday. For all of Germany, the RKI also gave a new high of 149.1 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. At the beginning of the partial lockdown in November, there were around 120.
The federal and state governments want to achieve that there are fewer than 50 – so health authorities could track infection chains again. The RKI has counted 1,218,524 detected infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic (as of December 9, 00:00 a.m.). It is estimated that around 902,100 people have now recovered.
In short words, this article does not sound good.
But how serious is the situation in Germany, in absolute figures?
Covid-19 Measurement Value #1: newly identified Covid-19 infections per day
The article above is reporting 20,800 new cases while I have predicted 49,000 cases for today. As it is now visible, several of my assumptions made were not correct. The main assumption was that the partial lockdown measures in Germany would not work, but they do in fact work, at least partially.
This is how these lockdown measures influenced the numbers of newly identified Covid-19 infections:
for comparison, the same graph, one month earlier, on 07 November 2020:
I found this a quite impressive result, from an engineer`s point of view: the relatively weak Covid-19 measures – as compared with what is applied to the public in Singapore – have lead to a stable oscillation of the newly identified Covid-19 cases, at an average level of about 20,000 new cases per day. In a sideline only, those 20,000 new cases will translate to 120 Covid-19 deaths per day, under the assumption that 0.64% of those who become infected with Covid-19 will die from it. That figure “0.64%” is what most experts agree upon, even the leftist New York Times agrees on that figure (click here).
Covid-19 Measurement Value #2: how many Intensive Care Units (ICU´s) are left?
The ultimate litmus test for a society is how many Intensive Care Units (ICU´s) are left. Once no more ICU is left, the time of medical triage begins. And not many can live with triage: can you take it that your 75-years-old diabetic father is not admitted into ICU because there is only one bed left and the other candidate for that ICU is a 35-year-old otherwise healthy father of three young kids?
This is THE ultimate official website for that: https://www.intensivregister.de/#/aktuelle-lage/zeitreihen
That website published the graph below for today. Explanation: the dark blue area is the number of occupied ICU beds. The light blue area is the number of still available ICU beds. And the light green area is the number of “emergency” ICU beds.
I have jotted in a few engineering lines, and you can see that – if everything continues as it does now – the still available ICU beds run out at around the end of February, and the German health system must then tap into the “emergency” beds, whatever that is.
That is the time when the official health system in Germany will become loud.
FAQ: why are the numbers of the still available ICU beds and of the number of “emergency” ICU beds diminishing over time? Because it is not just sufficient to put a bed and some equipment there in order to provide an ICU bed. You need trained staff to run that ICU environment 24/7. And that trained staff also attracts Covid-19 which takes them out from the workforce. Sounds like common sense to me.
So this is what I predict. In February or March 2021, there will be some very bad mood in Germany. There will be still enough “emergency” ICU beds left, about 10,000 if you follow the graph above. But there will be some very bad mood.
Germany has successfully delayed entering a critical stage of her public health system.
That is great.
The next bend is expected in February.
Martin “no jokes” Schweiger