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Criticism of the Robert Koch Institute is getting louder - Corona forecasts were often wrong


What's wrong now? The RKI's corona numbers often differ from other sources. And misjudgments by institute director Wieler are also unsettling. The institute is now increasingly criticized.

What's wrong now? The RKI's corona numbers often differ from other sources. And misjudgments by institute director Wieler are also unsettling. The institute is now increasingly criticized.

  • The new coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 * determines public life.
  • Europe has become the epicenter of the corona crisis .
  • The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin provides information on the current situation and corona cases in Germany. But the institute is also criticized.
  • Here you will find the basic facts about the corona virus * and the corona news from Germany. You will also find current case numbers in Germany * as a map. The following recommendations for corona protective measures * are currently available.

Update of March 26, 2020, 9:32 a.m .: Confusion regarding the number of cases, forecasts that turn out to be wrong and now an optimistic hint that may have come too early - the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is in the midst of the corona crisis increasingly criticized. But is that justified?

As the highest federal agency for infectious diseases, the institute is a key player in dealing with the spread of viruses in Germany. Initially every day, now only three times a week, RKI director Lothar Wieler informs the population about the current corona situation in Germany . In addition, the recommendations of the institute are the relevant guidelines and the decisions of the federal government. But there are doubts about the competence of the RKI. There was already great confusion that the number of coronavirus infections and deaths differed between the RKI and Johns Hopkins University .

Corona epidemic: RKI justifies differences in the number of cases - but the explanation has one flaw

Wieler's explanation: His institute would only publish officially confirmed case numbers , while other sources of information would disseminate data that included extrapolations and estimates. However, it can be doubted whether the RKI numbers are really more reliable . Because the comparatively low numbers are often due to delays in the registration of some health authorities. The information provided by the RKI therefore does not reflect the most recent case numbers.

But not only the number of cases deviating from other sources could unsettle the population these days. Only on Monday at the RKI press conference did Wieler report a visible trend that the exponential growth curve of Covid-19 infections flattened somewhat . He rowed back two days later: "We are at the beginning of the epidemic," he emphasized repeatedly during his latest corona briefing. You have to wait further to see if the measures work.

After all: Already on Monday, Wieler relativized his optimistic statement regarding a flattening development of coronavirus infections. It was too early to assess this development , he said three days ago. Nevertheless, the RKI boss should actually be aware that he raises premature hopes among the unsettled population by speaking of a "visible trend" - even if he does not subsequently assess it.

Corona epidemic: RKI director Wieler was wrong with some forecasts in the past

But Wieler has probably learned from a past mistake. For some time now, the RKI boss has been neglecting to make extensive forecasts about developments that are not foreseeable. Maybe because he was completely wrong several times a few weeks ago. He assumes that " only a few people can be infected by other people, " said Wieler in a contribution of the Tagesschau on January 22nd about the corona virus. On the same day, he also said in an interview with the 3sat television station: "Overall, we assume that the virus does not spread very widely in the world ."

The RKI gave the all-clear , while other experts have long been raising the alarm, reports On January 22, for example, the professor of virology Alexander Kekulé from the University of Halle also asked that Germany must prepare for the corona virus. He further emphasized that he "did not quite share the calmness of the Robert Koch Institute". Completely right, as it turned out.

But even a month later, on February 24, Wieler was still not worried about the virus, even though entire cities with millions of people had already been sealed off in China . The RKI boss's assessment: If the corona virus came to Germany, it "would not go through Germany like a hurricane within two weeks", but would "hit different regions in succession", he predicted. He called on Corona to “look very matter-of-factly , like a flu wave” and emphasized that the previous containment strategy was being followed with “a lot of success”.

Corona epidemic: Spahn also criticized the course of the RKI - the change came in March

Four days later, Wieler received criticism from the front row : Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) described the joint anti-corona strategy of the Federal Government and the RKI as "questionable" - and admitted that Germany was "at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic". The political change came in mid-March: public life in Germany was shut down, schools and shops were closed, and the current ban on contacts and exit restrictions apply.

Wieler, too, has now seen it: "We are in a crisis the magnitude of which I could never have imagined, " he admitted. And because the future extent can hardly be estimated, the 59-year-old is now reluctant to make uncertain forecasts. Instead, he emphasizes the unpredictability of the situation. "It is still completely open how the epidemic will develop, " he said at the press conference on Wednesday. Accordingly, his appeals to the population are above all warnings - and these not only apply to risk groups, but also explicitly to the younger and healthy population on Wednesday: "Younger and healthy people can also get Covid-19 very seriously, and there are also younger and more healthy people who die from Covid-19, ”he warned.

In view of some misjudgments and case numbers , which are not always up to date , the criticism of the RKI seems to be quite justified to a certain extent . It should be noted, however, that the institute, like the federal government and the entire population, is in a crisis of unprecedented magnitude . Errors and misjudgements can therefore occur - it is important that they are not repeated.

First message from March 22, 2020:

Berlin - The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) provides daily information about the current situation and Corona cases in Germany. The RKI presents official registration data. Data transmitted by the state and local health authorities to the institute in Berlin. These numbers are verified beforehand.

Coronavirus crisis: Robert Koch Institute provides daily information on current case numbers from Germany

The RKI has only updated the number of cases in Germany on its website once every 24 hours . There is sometimes a discrepancy between the number of new infections and fatalities that are reported from individual states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia or Bavaria. There are also various interactive maps on the Internet where these numbers change every minute.

"We know that there are other numbers on the Internet and certain portals and be assured that the Robert Koch Institute knows these numbers too," RKI President Lothar Wieler told the press in Berlin on Monday. “We limit ourselves to officially reported figures because we analyze the trends. We are also aware that there is an undisclosed number. ”

The number of coronavirus cases * in Germany is therefore significantly higher than that stated by the Robert Koch Institute. "Believe me that we have mastered this business," emphasizes RKI President Wieler.


President of the Robert Koch Institute Lothar Wieler informs about the current situation of the corona epidemic.

© dpa / Jörg Carstensen

Due to the dynamic development in Germany, the RKI, according to its own information, only presents electronically transmitted cases from March 17.

The RKI Institute points out on its website that there may be deviations from the current figures for the individual federal states between the becoming known of cases on site and the transmission to the RKI. According to its own information, the RKI will update the registration data (with data status at midnight) daily in the morning from March 17th. The RKI also announces its own graphic dashboard with data and case numbers from Germany.

The corona situation in Germany * is coming to a head. Prime Minister Armin Laschet describes the situation as particularly dramatic for NRW.

Corona case numbers: Johns Hopkins University shows virus spread in real time

A team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins University (USA, Baltimore) developed an interactive online map that shows the outbreak of the Sars CoV-2 coronavirus around the world. Confirmed Covid 19 cases appear as red dots on the map. The aim of this project was to illustrate the extremely rapid spread of the virus in China and the world at the end of January. Since the outbreak of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus, programmers have been collecting data from WHO, national authorities for disease prevention, and facilities from various health authorities. This mostly automatically collected data is constantly being received. The graphic shows the global spread of the virus in real time.

"We created this dashboard because we believe it is important for the public to understand the breakout station," said Professor Lauren Garnder of the project. The website shows statistics on deaths, confirmed coronavirus cases and recovered people on a worldwide map. Visitors can download the maps for free.

The real-time map of the Johns Hopkins University is available in two different versions:

  • Corona virus card for smartphone and tablet: Corona virus card mobile
  • Coronavirus card for the PC: Coronavirus card desktop

Covid 19 cases: Germany map shows current case numbers in real time

A team of geographers and data scientists from Germany has also developed a dashboard with a map *, which shows the spread of the corona virus in practically real time for Germany.

The individual federal states are shown in different shades of blue: the darker the blue, the more cases there are. In addition, the dashboard shows the number of confirmed infections and the death rate.

The Coronavirus Germany map is available here: Coronavirus Germany map.

The number of infected people is increasing worldwide, when will the long-awaited vaccine follow? Researchers could soon make their breakthrough.

Coronavirus: The package of measures for companies, artists, the self-employed - "We are putting together a comprehensive protective shield". It should not be the last resort.

* is part of the nationwide Ippen-Digital editors network.


List of rubric lists: © dpa / Carsten Koall

Source: merkur

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