According to the researchers, there could soon be 20,000 new cases of corona infection per day in Germany if the infection rate remains as high as it is today. (Image: Feydzhet Shabanov / stock.adobe.com)
Significant increase in corona cases expected
New record values for new infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Germany are being reported almost daily. And in all likelihood, the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to rise. According to the researchers, there could soon be as many as 20,000 new cases of infection a day.
How many COVID-19 patients will soon have to be hospitalized? How many of them need intensive care? For such predictions, researchers in Saarbrücken have developed a mathematical model that provides precise results for all federal states on the basis of extensive data. According to a post, scenarios from the online simulator show that there could be 20,000 new cases of infection per day in Germany in two to three weeks if the infection rate remains as high as it is today.
Strong increase in the number of reproductions
Scientists at the University of Saarland regularly publish detailed forecasts for all federal states to help politicians and the health care system to make decisions. “Unfortunately, we are currently seeing a sharp increase in the number of reproductions (R-value), which indicates the number of people infected on average by one infected person. In Germany, the R-value is currently estimated at 1.56, in Saarland it is already 2.0, which means that an infected person infects on average two more people ”, explains Thorsten Lehr, professor of clinical pharmacy at the ‘University of the Saar.
“This means that we can also expect a significant increase in the occupancy rate of hospitals. If the infectious situation continues as it currently is, we anticipate a similar number of COVID-19 patients in normal and intensive care units in two to four weeks in individual federal states such as Saarland, as recorded by the hours peak of the first wave in mid-April “, warns Expert who, with his team and his research colleagues, developed the mathematical model on which the online simulator is based.
More intensive medical care is needed
Studies conducted by researchers in Saarbrücken have confirmed the hypothesis that the number of hospitalized patients strongly depends on the age of those infected. “At the moment, it is mainly young people who are infected, and the number of hospitalized patients, including intensive care patients, is therefore low. In two to three weeks, however, we predict that the necessary intensive care will then be seven times that of the summer and we are caring for 200,000 people with Covid19 across the country, i.e. cases. active, if infection rates remain as they are now, ”explains Prof. Lehr. Then there will be a stronger mixture with the older population groups and the elderly could be more affected.
“The number of deaths is already increasing worryingly. It could increase sharply with a delay of several weeks, as a fifth of Covid19 intensive care patients continue to die. Our calculations confirmed this, ”said Lehr. If over 60s fell ill, they could fill the currently vacant intensive care beds faster than expected after a relatively quiet summer. “Our simulation model does not currently reflect such a dramatic increase in graphs, because we cannot yet predict the future age structure of patients,” explains the professor of pharmacy. At the same time, however, he warns that even if it were possible to push the number of reproductions back below 1 by early November, one could still expect the number of daily cases to exceed 10,000. infected people across Germany is expected by the end of the year.
Even at the onset of the corona pandemic, there were strong concerns in Germany that intensive care beds and ventilation places in clinics would not be sufficient. “So we not only recorded the number of Covid 19 patients, their hospital treatment and deaths, but also analyzed the existing capacities in German clinics. This allowed us to predict very early on the number of hospital beds, intensive care units or ventilation stations needed for the respective number of infections, ”explains Prof. Lehr.
As stated in the announcement, the special feature of this COVID-19 research project is the large database used for complex calculations: in addition to surveys carried out by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and district health authorities and state, for example the Corona Case Number Search of the “Berliner Morgenpost” completed. In addition, clinical data of more than 8,000 COVID-19 hospital patients from more than 100 German clinics and various information from health ministries are evaluated. “We are also analyzing how political interventions during the pandemic affect the rate of infection. In our tables and graphs you can see exactly the effects of contact restrictions or school closure. We use this knowledge for our forecasts and thus continuously improve the underlying simulation model. We are very satisfied with the accuracy with which our calculations can predict actual development, ”says Thorsten Lehr.
The researchers have developed a mathematical model which, in principle, can be applied to any country if the appropriate database is available. “We have now put them in place not only for Germany, but also for the United States, France, Italy, Spain and Great Britain. For these countries, too, we can accurately predict different scenarios and calculate what would happen if, for example, the contact ban was neglected, ”the expert explains. Prof Lehr points out that any interested layman can use the online simulator to find out what would have happened if the number of reproductions had changed. (a d)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
University of the Saar: an online simulator predicts a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases for all federal states, (accessed October 18, 2020), University of the Saar
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.