1.8 Million Infected? Epidemiologist warns of Transferability of the Heinsberg-study

The Heinsberg-study suggests asymptomatic, that in Germany, 1.8 million people could be infected with the Coronavirus – a large part of it. Experts are warning, but of caution. Because whether it’s from a Hotspot-study conclusions on the whole of Germany can be drawn, remains controversial.

The tranquil district of Heinsberg is one of the places in Germany, the most early and most from the Coronavirus was affected. After a carnival session SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly in the population – in particular, the municipality was affected Gangelt, with its approximately 12,000 inhabitants.

Exactly this community of the virologist Hendrik Streeck from the University hospital of Bonn, took up a study under the microscope to determine the exact propagation degree of the Virus and the resulting deaths.

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As he communicated at the beginning of April between the results, from which loose the contact to derive the lock gave, he fell in the criticism. Germany’s chief virologist Christian Drosten, didn’t like that – him the exact information on the methodology and composition of the investigated cases were missing.

22 percent of the infections were asymptomatic

Published on Monday, Streeck and his Team are now the first scientific manuscript of the controversial study. Were studied six weeks after the outbreak of the Corona 919 residents of Gangelt from a total of 405 house in the period from 30. March to 6. April. You were interviewed and by means of a blood sample and throat swab for SARS-CoV-2 tested.

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  • As a result, 15 percent of the examined group of people had the infection by made. 22 percent of them had no symptoms. Children were in the test group, older people over-represented.

    Mortality rate in Gangelt was only 0.37 percent

    The study calculated on the basis of the infections in the test group, how many people have to get infected to actually be the date in Gangelt been. The difference between the actual number of reported cases is to be inferred, namely, a dark figure, as Streeck. In the case of Gangelt this say and write was five times higher than the number of reported cases.

    According to Streeck and his Team, the dark figure for the total can be as-Germany determine: of 6700 SARS-CoV-2-associated death cases in the Republic, would be the estimated number of Infected at 1.8 million. So, ten Times higher than the according to RKI officially reported 162.496 cases (as of 3.5.2020).

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    From this dark point, the mortality rate can, in turn, rate of charge, determined by the study. Since the number was Covid-19 reported dead during the relevant period in Gangelt, only in seven cases, the calculated Streeck and his Team, resulting in a mortality rate, the so-called Infection Fatality Rate (IFR), only 0.37 percent – a relatively low Rate.

    WHO is of significantly higher mortality by Covid-19

    “Our data can now be used for the first Time is very well appreciated, how many people have been infected after an outbreak event. In our study, the 15 percent for the municipality were Gangelt. The total number of Infected Infection rate (IFR) can be determined. It is for SARS-CoV-2 for the outbreak in the commune of Gangelt at 0.37 percent,“ said Streeck.

    "In order to make model calculations of how the Virus affects the population, we need parameters to verbessern&quot to the models;, the virologist. With regard to the mortality Streeck noted that it had previously assumed a range of 0.2 to 1.5 percent, the world health organization, WHO, have even spoken of 3.4 percent. "This tension we can width this study now reduce to a much smaller Fehlerbereich", the virologist.

    Epidemiologist advises caution regarding the Transferability of the study to the whole of Germany

    With regard to the Transferability of the study from Gangelt in Germany, warns Gérard Krause, head of the Department of epidemiology at the Helmholtz-centre for infection research (HZI) in Braunschweig, however, to caution: "I am rather zurückhaltend", he said. Because the reference group in Gangelt was small and the share of the deceased was with seven people is relatively low.

    Since the data on deaths came from the local health Department, it could be that not all were incorporated, and thus, the low mortality rate is not agreed to, criticized Krause. He complained that the investigation time of entry into nursing homes not yet taken place would have. Overall, Krause described the study as “valuable” and “compelling”.

    Streeck sees Heinsberg-study as an important basis for further research

    You must be, with estimates, of course, be careful, also admitted Streeck. Nevertheless, he and his colleague and Co-author Gunther Hartmann, Director of the Institute for Clinical chemistry and Clinical pharmacology at the University hospital of Bonn, the study as an important Basis for further research: “The results can be used to improve model calculations of the propagation behavior of Virus more – so far, the data basis is relatively uncertain,” says Hartmann see.

    The study will deliver important information for the research – such as the risk of infection depending on age, gender and pre-existing conditions, the higher the severity of the disease under the special conditions of a massive infection event, such as in Gangelt, or to the risk of infection within families.

    Risk of infection within a household is not as high as thought

    Since the study covered households, showed that the risk of infection is within a family or in the house living persons not as high as previously assumed. Instead of 100 percent of the risk of infection increased with the increasing number of persons in the household on up to 43 percent. Why this is, but according to Streeck is not clear.

    Summarized from the study, therefore, deduce that

    • every fifth infection is asymptomatic
    • supposedly Healthy the Virus and infect others can wear
    • People living in a household, not necessarily infected
    • the participation in the carnival increased the rate of infection and the symptoms in the Infected

    Martin Exner, Director of the Institute for Hygiene and public health and Co-author of the study, however, in the results, a confirmation that distance and hygiene rules are important in dealing with Corona. “That, apparently, every fifth infection progresses without noticeable symptoms of the disease, suggests that you are Infected, leaving the Virus and thus infect others can, not sure on the Basis of identifiable symptoms of a disease can identify with,” explains Exner.

    Streeck self expresses itself, nevertheless, cautious in terms of possible measures that can be adopted from the study: “What are the conclusions to be drawn from the study results, depends on many factors, which go beyond a purely scientific view,” he said. “The evaluation of the findings and the conclusions for the concrete decisions are the responsibility of the company and the policy.”

    With Material from dpa

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