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IfW forecast: Influenza epidemic could cost the economy more than 40 billion euros


After Christmas this year, the number of respiratory infections threatens to rise drastically. If the wave of influenza continues for a long time, the Kiel economic institute IfW predicts billions in costs.

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Photo: Bernd Weissbrod / dpa

According to calculations by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), the current severe wave of influenza could cause up to 40 billion euros in economic costs in this country.

“The German economy could lose more than 30 billion euros in gross value added just from the absence of work due to illness, and in the case of a very unfavorable course even more than 40 billion euros,” quoted the “Welt am Sonntag” from the calculations.

How high the costs due to the loss of work actually are depends largely on the duration of the influenza wave.

According to the report, in a pessimistic scenario, the institute expects the disease to last until the third week of April 2023 and until then to be 50 percent higher than in the last severe flu wave in winter 2017/18.

In this scenario, up to 650,000 cases of influenza would be feared.

If this scenario occurs, the gross national income could drop by more than 40 billion euros, the newspaper reported from the calculations of the IfW.

Nine million Germans suffer from respiratory infections

Most recently, most acute respiratory infections that led to a doctor's visit were caused by influenza viruses (55 percent) and human respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV, 15 percent).

Experts only found the corona virus in five percent of the samples examined, according to the Covid 19 weekly report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Thursday evening.

Nevertheless, increasing corona incidences have also been registered since the beginning of December.

more on the subject

  • Influenza wave: How to recognize the fluBy Marthe Ruddat

  • Wave of illness, shortage of medication: How to get through the holidays healthyBy Dennis Deuermeier and Benjamin Eckert

  • "Additional challenge for the health system": RKI expects more streptococcal and pneumococcal cases

  • Unusual wave of colds: Why are so many people getting sick right now? A podcast by Julian Aé and Sandra Sperber

In the past week, around nine million people in total were suffering from an acute respiratory infection - the RKI estimates the number of Sars-CoV-2 infected people with symptoms at 400,000 to 700,000, similar to the week before.

Children and younger adults are currently mainly affected by influenza and RSV infections, the number of Covid diseases is increasing in the group of older adults.

In view of this, the RKI emphasizes how important it is to comply with the existing recommendations for avoiding infections and transmissions.

Anyone who has symptoms such as a cough, runny nose or sore throat should stay at home for three to five days and until the symptoms improve significantly, avoid contacts and contact their family doctor if necessary.

The statistician Christian Hesse expressed the fear that there would be a particularly large number of new infections over Christmas this year.

"It is very likely that the holidays, when many people across Germany will come together indoors to celebrate, will become a superspreader event for the RSV numbers," the scientist from the University of Stuttgart told the "Augsburger Allgemeine".


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-12-24

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