“Inappropriate and partly off-target”

Regarding the reporting on the corona crisis, we are told that the available epidemiological data for germany on the current epidemic give pause for thought. From the 40. Calendar week 2019 until 23. March 2020, 177,000 patients in germany contracted influenza with laboratory-confirmed virus detection, and the number of deaths was 395 (robert koch institute/RKI).

The number of people infected with covid-19 with evidence of the virus from january to january was 25. March 2020 about 36,000, the number of deceased 198 (RKI).

There are two things to be aware of: firstly, patients with the virus have died, but not necessarily from it, and the number of unreported cases, i.E. Those not included in the statistics, is considerable, up to ten times higher, according to experts.

This means that for 95 percent of those infected with one of the two types of virus, the infection is harmless. And also that the infectiousness, the morbidity, the course of the disease and the mortality (about 0.5 to one percent) are comparable.

However, 20,000 patients died from the influenza wave in 2012/2013, and 25,000 patients in 2017/2018. The current numbers do not reach this level by far. At that time, no one proposed the drastic measures that politicians are demanding of us today, which I believe are unacceptable and in some cases untargeted.

We can't have another epidemic every time one of the viruses changes its surface structure, ruining our economy and the livelihoods of many.

It would be wiser and more necessary to think about alternatives. The protection of elderly, sick and immunocompromised patients is necessary, perhaps by means of a contact ban or contact protection. Modern technologies allow to locate and isolate sources of infection very early via smartphone.

Improving hygiene standards, for example shopping cart handles, also in clinics (preventing hospital-acquired infections), better equipping our health system with adequately paid staff and the necessary materials.

Not to forget: politics has squeezed our health care system like a lemon over many years. We ophthalmologists, who work very close to high-risk patients, have not yet received a single respirator mask.

However, this should not prevent us from doing our duty – as other professionals do – while observing hygiene rules and treatment requirements.

Bernd stone Kulmbach