Whether mask requirement, distance requirement or lockdown: Every step that the government of the federal and state governments have decided in the fight against Corona served the same goal.

The health system should not be overloaded because of the pandemic.

No hospital should turn away emergency patients, no family doctor should have to put off sick patients for later.

So far, this has largely been successful.

For this purpose, the federal and state governments were guided primarily by the seven-day incidence, i.e. the number of detected infections calculated down to 100,000 inhabitants.

From a value of 50 onwards, the Infection Protection Act stipulates that something must happen.

But this limit should soon be over.

Kim Bjorn Becker

Editor in politics.

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The reason for this is the ongoing vaccination campaign. The vaccinations - most recently more than 59 percent of the people in the country were considered fully immunized - are changing the math of the pandemic. Because in a largely vaccinated society many more people can become infected with the virus before the same number of sick people would have to be brought to the emergency rooms of the hospitals, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) should quickly look for alternatives. The Corona cabinet ordered him to do this on Monday.

The focus is primarily on the so-called hospitalization rate, i.e. the proportion of infected people who have to be treated in hospital because of Covid-19. The minister now wants to quickly make a proposal before the general election at the end of September. His officials have to quickly answer one question: Where should the new border run from which politicians are obliged to take decisive action against the virus?

The official pandemic figures for the past few weeks suggest that the vaccinations make a difference. Between July 20 and August 24, the nationwide incidence rose from 10.9 to 58, more than five-fold. Since the end of July, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has also been showing the incidence of hospitalization in its daily situation reports, i.e. the proportion of corona patients admitted to hospital within one week and per 100,000 inhabitants. This value increased from 0.29 to 1.38 - an increase by a factor of a little under five. The number of hospital admissions has recently increased a little less than the incidence.

And then there are the hard cases.

The number of intensive care patients who have to be treated in hospitals because of Corona was 361 at the end of July. 805 patients were counted on Tuesday, so the number of cases "only" more than doubled.

Although the calculation is only a rough approximation, effects such as the delay in reporting by the authorities and the fact that higher incidences always appear later in intensive care units are likely to distort the picture a little.

But the tendency that in view of the vaccinations it takes more and more infected people to care for the same number of sick people seems to be confirmed.

Incidentally, the number of those fully vaccinated rose from 39.4 to 49.2 million between the end of July and the end of August, an increase of a quarter.