Must Pay correctly read: experts warn of Shutdown as a pointless display

A graphic from the Robert Koch-Institute for the reproduction rate (R) is currently responsible for the critical questions. Accordingly, the figure was already in front of the Lockdown at about 1. In the network, allegations that the actions were pointless are circulating now. Health and statistics experts held.

The Robert Koch Institute has published a graph, which leads in the network to skeptical reactions in relation to the Lockdown measures: To see a graph that shows how the rate of reproduction in Germany over a period of time from the beginning of March until the beginning of April has changed.


This Rate tells you how many people are infects a of Infected, on average. The lower the value, the better. The reproduction rate is more than 1, is an Infected in the Mediterranean more than other people – so the number of daily new infections increases. The Rate is less than 1, infects a of Infected in an average of less than a other people.

According to the RKI is the reproduction number for the pathogen of Sars-CoV-2 im General, and without counter-measures, between 2.4 and 3.3. This means that an Infected person in the means of infecting more than two, or even more than three additional people – and the Virus spread so quickly. So two-thirds of all Transfers must be prevented to get to the epidemic in the handle.

Reproduction rate rises and falls from the 22. March from

On the new RKI-graphics is now to see that the reproduction rate in Germany initially up to 10. or 11. March to a value of more than 3 increased, and thereafter, up to the 22. March is like. Already on 21. March should have, therefore, in Germany, at a value of approximately 1 located.

At this time, already is two measures, namely:

  • the cancellation of major events with more than 1000 participants (9.3.)
  • the Federal-Länder-agreement on guidelines to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (16.3 in.): Bars, cinemas, Clubs, swimming pools and museums were closed. Also, many shops had to close, and also hotel accommodation for tourists were no longer possible. The reproduction number in Germany was significantly higher than 1.

The third measure, which is marked in the graphic, the ban on nationwide extensive Contact was on 23. March started. After this date, the curve is mostly below the value of 1, and at a similar level, as at 22.March. With Data 21. April, the RKI estimates the reproduction number to 0.9.

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The Lockdown measures really pointless?

The Lockdown measures so pointless, ask some of the people. Great representative of this Thesis, Stefan Homburg, Professor of Economics of Leibniz University Hannover. The Economist is on the basis of the RKI-graph of the opinion that “the Lockdown of large parts of the economy was not necessary and also not effective,” he writes in a guest post on “The world”. He has spread his ideas on YouTube and on television.

To mention he makes the statement that the RKI is in the report itself for the curve. Firstly, the authors of the report, my would have been infected in Germany, initially more young people with the Virus. Only from the 18th century. March have spread it even stronger among high-risk groups, such as older people in care homes or in hospitals. As soon as the Virus spread there for the first time, can also with the current contact restrictions hardly encounter. Even if the reproduction number at the same time decreases elsewhere, it remains, therefore, about the same.

A large error in Homburg’s argument is his assertion that you have 23 the. March may already know that the Lockdown won’t work. That is not correct. The reproduction number was estimated according to the RKI, for methodological reasons, only afterwards, with a delay of about ten days. 23. March was, therefore, not known to anyone, how high is the reproduction number was. Was known, however, that the number of new infections up to 22. March increase massively. Both the calculation methods as well as the known numbers in the RKI-document reference.

In addition, the test capacity was increased significantly in Germany. As a result, the Figures may have been distorted. Because the more tested, the greater was the part of the infections that would be visible. And the more reliable the number of Infected, the better the reproduction number can be estimated.


No-contact orders help to stabilize the value below 1

On request by FOCUS Online, the RKI declared in addition, you will lead the front of the 23. March on 1 lower reproduction number to the fact that “already before the public life dangers have been”, for example, cancellation of large events. The ban on Contact helping to keep the value under 1, or to stabilize.

Also, the RKI convinced that the reproduction number during an epidemic is not isolated to be considered was: “The reproduction number can not alone as a measure of effectiveness of/need for measures to be used.” It is important to consider also the absolute number of daily new infections, the small should be enough to allow effective contact people tracking and do not overload the capacity of intensive care beds.

Epidemiologist sees no contradiction in the RKI Figures and Impact of measures

We asked the epidemiologists Gérard Krause from the Helmholtz centre for infection research (HZI), an assessment of the graphics. His hypothesis: “The initial steep increase in the very early flat Phase of the wave is probably an expression of strong clusters (e.g., Heinsberg), which had remained largely local and little or delayed to a dynamics in Germany”, explains the Professor. The early drop in the infection reports could be mapped to the part of the end of these local clusters.

“Would this hypothesis be true, the logical consequence would be, that the Shutdown action actually exactly the right time would be, because you are then a very steep rise in in Germany so far has to prevent,” says Krause more. That would explain why it came in other European countries such as France, Spain and Italy on the other hand, a steep rise. Because of the Shutdown relative to the curve of the respective countries had been decided only later.

The Corona-pandemic restricts the everyday life of the people in Germany. Especially for vulnerable groups such as seniors, everyday tasks are associated with a risk of infection. Therefore, now asked for solidarity! FOCUS Online has therefore launched the campaign “#corona care: Germany helps”. With you! All of the information you find here.

To check “the assumption that the time course is in large Parts due to the impact of local clusters to explain, you could make the appropriate sensitivity analyses in which we weighted, for example, the cases from these local clusters less”, the Helmholtz scientists. “The fact that this very massive bundle of measures to the Shutdown, no impact on the spread had to have, I can hardly imagine.”

Overall, he sees in the RKI publication currently, therefore, no contradiction to the view that these interventions of the Shutdown have contributed to a slowing of the pandemic in Germany.

"Wrong Interpretation of the Grafik"

The assumption that the RKI-graphics could the effectiveness of the measures of 23. March disprove the statisticians Helmut cuisine Hoff from Munich, speaks decided. "The statement that you can derive from the reproduction number of the ineffectiveness of the measures is just not right. This is a wrong Interpretation of the graphic."

From jumping to conclusions of non-Expert such as Economists Homburg statisticians kitchen Hoff holds a little. "You must be able to read Numbers correctly – and for that you have to deal a bit with epidemiology."

Viola pries the man from the Max-Planck-Institute for dynamics and self-organization also urges to interpret the data easily: "It is very difficult, solely on the basis of this graph, cause and effect, to read." Factors such as school closures, contact, restrictions and others would not be so easy to take apart. Your own calculations show a clear effect of the contact show lock from 22. March.

The R-value of a Covenant is also more average. He covers that it can give big differences. An exponential growth of the infected number, however, is always dangerous, whether on a Federal, state or County level.

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  • “If we do so, as if the Problem would be overcome, we will have an outbreak again”

    The experts agree that the presentation of Homburg, the contact restrictions would have come to nothing, has some shortcomings. Sure, however, is contagious as it is: If the so – called reproduction number after the easing of measures should come back about 1-so an Infected person more than any other person, could the epidemic activity in an unexpected stunner to start again, said Christian Drosten of the Charité hospital in Berlin recently.

    At the end of last week, he had warned in the light of findings about the Spanish flu of the danger of a second wave, not only to individual places of movement and, thus, worse could be. So far, outbreaks were spread from region to region: most Affected, of all places, in the returning from the skiing holiday, the Virus had brought were.

    In the case of a premature redemption of all or a large part of the contact-restricting measures the fundamental risk of a second wave, there is also the RKI Vice President Lars what a pity is confirmed. The less the person to prevent the Virus by the behavior of jumping from one person to another, the more likely story again.

    The reproduction number increases again to values between two and three: That is, an Infected person is contagious two to three other people. Currently, the value is 0.9. What a pity warned: “If we do all the more now as if the Problem would be overcome, we will have an outbreak again. This is pretty sure.“

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