Corona: New botched number at the RKI – those who have recovered are sometimes counted twice – Health

What do we really know for sure about the infection process in Germany?

Two years of pandemic – that means: two years Crown numbersthat determine our daily lives and decide whether we can go to a restaurant, a concert or the gym.

But the longer the pandemic lasts, the more inaccurate the corona figures become – and are no more than pure estimates that hardly reflect the real situation!

BILD explains what is now only estimated, how many unreported cases can be expected, and where the RKI is even cheating the numbers.

Reported new infections are ‘virtually useless’

As for new infections, they have been known for a long time: only estimates are made here. Authorities can no longer keep up with the rate of reporting cases, fewer and fewer tests are being carried out and the number of unreported cases continues to grow.

Statistician Professor Christian Hesse of the University of Stuttgart on BILD: “Disruptive and delayed reporting chains and declining test discipline in the population have now reached such a level that, according to the latest RKI figures, only 1, 2 million PCR tests are performed. per recorded week, compared to almost twice as many weekly tests in mid-February.

The RKI itself writes in the current weekly report Nevertheless, that the available data would allow a “reliable assessment of the overall evolution of the epidemiological situation”, but the judgment of the statistician is different: according to Hesse, “the new infections and incidences currently reported are practically useless”.

He believes that the true number of cases is much higher: “The infection situation can be seen much more precisely from the number of deaths linked to Covid-19. Based on the dates of death, the number of infections can be recalculated,” says Hesse. “The real-world incidences are expected to be around 1,000 instead of the 639.5 reported on May 2.”

Those who have recovered are valued – and counted twice!

If it is no longer clear how many people will be infected, another important number will also become worthless: the number of people who have recovered, which should help make statements about existing immunity in the population, n is also only an estimate. An RKI spokeswoman for BILD: “The number of those who survived the acute infection (“recovered”) is estimated.”

Population immunity is one of the arguments used this week to shorten the quarantine period.

Teacher.  Dr. Christian Hesse, Head of the Department of Mathematical Statistics at the University of StuttgartFoto: Miina Jung

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Teacher. Dr. Christian Hesse, Head of the Department of Mathematical Statistics at the University of StuttgartPhoto: Miina Jung

The RKI currently says nearly 25 million people have recovered. However, this number is misleading, because: The algorithm used for the estimation does not distinguish whether a recovered person may have already had a second corona infection. The RKI spokesperson confirms: “If someone becomes ill twice, the second illness is also counted and is then also included in the above estimate of those who have recovered.”

A look at England shows how this double counting can skew the numbers: here the Department of Health collects data from the population every month by random sampling so it can assess factors such as the number of unreported infections . It turned out that two thirds of people infected with omicron had already been infected!

But how many people in Germany are really immune – and has herd immunity been achieved after two years of the pandemic? Statistician Hesse: “In addition to the 24.8 million confirmed infections, one must add an unreported number which is at least as high, suggesting around 50-55 million people infected. However, due to the slow of the vaccination campaign and the decrease in the protective effect of vaccination over time, only about three quarters of the population can currently be assumed to be immunized.

Graphic: Development of corona vaccinations - infographic

Corona figures are a “giant disaster”

Hesse is not the only statistician to be strict with the figures of the German crown: the statistician Prof. Dr. Ralf Münnich (58) from the German Statistical Society (DStatG) criticized the German processing of data in BILD.

Looking back on the past two years, he said: “Corona has been a huge disaster.” Besides the lack of digitalization, he criticizes the fact that there are no random samples in Germany as in Great Britain. “Asymptomatic cases are virtually not recorded at all, so additional random samples should have been taken in order to reasonably represent the number of unreported cases.”

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