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  1. English transcript (by me, native German but not native English, so no gurantee for error-freeness, I surely have some typos or wrong words^^).
  2. I tried to focus on the content and didn't translate word for word, e.g. I put "welcome" instead of the "let me wholeheartly welcome you",
  3. hope that makes it a little easier to read.
  4.  
  5. start at 3:28 in the video, after checking watch (Germans, have to love them xD)
  6.  
  7. S. Glasmacher:
  8.     Yeah, I think we start, it's ten o'clock. Welcome to the first press briefing concerning the new Corona virus.
  9.     We will offer this every working day [Mo-Fr] henceforth, meaning unless you hear differently, it will happen daily.
  10.     I'd also like to welcome the watchers and listeners on twitter, we are live-streaming this,
  11.     and the viewers on Phoenix [a German news channel],
  12.     that, as far as we know, are also live-streaming this.
  13.     Some points regarding the structure:
  14.     We have here Prof. Wieler, president of the Robert Koch institute, and Prof. Schaade, vice president of the Robert Koch institute.
  15.     Mr. Wieler will open with a short statement, afterwards you will be free to ask questions; at the end we might
  16.     allow individual statements, and of course Mr. Schaade will also answer then.
  17.     Mr. Wieler, please.
  18.  
  19. Prof. Wieler:
  20.     Thanks Ms Glasmacher. Dear everyone from the press and the ones watching the live-stream, welcome.
  21.     First, I'll quickly summarize what happened in the last weeks to show you that this is a very dynamic incident
  22.     and that we are dealing with a virus that we only know for a short time and where we get new informations about almost daily.
  23.     This is why it is so important to give this assessment of the situation every day.
  24.     On December 8th, in Wuhan, a big city in China in the province of Hubei, we saw the first cases of people
  25.     suffering from pneumonia, where it wasn't clear what exactly they got.
  26.     On December 31st, cases were officially reported to the WHO.    
  27.     On January 1st, a market, an animal market, was closed down in Wuhan.
  28.     Already on January 7th, the virus DNA was decoded and the information shared with the world,
  29.     allowing the development of a test for the virus.
  30.     This was a very, very important step and happened very fast.
  31.     On January 13th, we had the first case outside of China, since then these cases are increasing.
  32.     In Germany, we recorded the first case on January 27th, in Bavaria.
  33.     To give you a short idea about how intensively the Robert Koch institute is working on these cases:
  34.     On January 6th, we established a "situation workgroup" ["Lage AG" in German],
  35.     meaning that colleagues intensively worked on that, gathering information,
  36.     sharing information with international organisations, making risk assessments.
  37.     On January 14th, we first introduced a coordinating position [as in "someone responsible for that"],
  38.     meaning an in house scaling and putting more people on this topic,
  39.     more intensely researching the topic, exchanging informations, doing daily risk assessments.
  40.     From the day of the first German case, 01/27, i.e. about 4 weeks ago, we activated our situation
  41.     room/assessment center ["Lagezentrum" in German],
  42.     meaning that since when workers are working on it in two shifts, seven days a week from 8am to 9pm,
  43.     continuously discussing, developing recommendations,
  44.     are in contact with doctors, with epidemic ministers of the federal states ["Länder' in German],
  45.     updating the website that we also actualize daily.
  46.     You are well aware what happened in Bayern, at the first German case:
  47.     All in all we have 14 people who are, save one, all discharged already; the last one is not discharged yet
  48.     as they are still releasing viruses.
  49.     Then we had two citizens of Wuhan, they too are healthy and discharged.
  50.     Each day we re-assess the risk, we observe what happens in other countries, cases arising, how things are developing.
  51.     Until the evening of two days ago, that was what was going on in Germany,
  52.     since that evening we have further cases in NRW and Baden-Würtemberg.
  53.     In B-W, we have a 25 year old male that traveled to Milan; related to this journey and in his proximity there were further cases.
  54.     In NRW, we as of now have 6 cases, originating from a male between 40 and 50 who showed symptoms and is
  55.     currently being treated at a hospital in Dusseldorf.
  56.  
  57.     What happens if you have such cases?
  58.     The local health governments start an intensive "contact tracing", as we call it,
  59.     meaning that of course these persons get treated if sick, they are obviously quarantined,  
  60.     either at home or in hospitals. But one of the most important things is to find and inform contact persons
  61.     to put them under quarantine.
  62.     Meaning this is the task we are working on, we are calling that "containment" strategy, meaning we will try
  63.     to stop the spread of this infection as much as possible.
  64.     This is the goal of our current actions.
  65.     This incident is very dynamic, world-wide we have 46 countries affected so far. Almost every day in the last few weeks,
  66.     another new country was added; a very dynamic incident
  67.     that we need to monitor and include into our risk assessment.
  68.     All of us, in all countries, take every possible effort to reduce the spread of this virus as much as possible,
  69.     resp. slowing down the spread as much as possible.
  70.     Why is that so important?
  71.     Because this virus is that new, there is not yet a treatment and no vaccine, it is important to learn more every day;
  72.     how to better treat patients, how the virus is transmitted and
  73.     how we can contribute to slowing down the spread and contain the virus as far as possible. We need to gain time,
  74.     and we do everything we can for that.
  75.     Of course we cannot exclude the possiblity of the virus spreading further.
  76.     This was my statement so far, I am open for questions.
  77.  
  78.  
  79.  
  80. reporter questions (starting at 10:45min into the video)
  81.  
  82.  
  83. reporter:
  84.     Volker Weine (?) from BILD. How many people are currently isolated in Germany, that's the first question.
  85.     The second question: How many people are still being searched for that were at this carneval party?
  86.     And thirdly: Are we at risk of soon facing Italien conditions, e.g. closed down cities?
  87.  
  88. Prof. Schaade:
  89.     Isolated are the sick ones, they are getting isolated, i.e. isolating sick persons [yep, that's how he said it, sounds better than it looks in German^^].
  90.     On top of that, contact persons are quarantined, i.e. isolating people at risk of being infected in technical terms.
  91.     I can't give you that number, currently only the local health officials know these numbers.
  92.     But fully isolated are all the people that have so far been identified as infected.
  93.  
  94. reporter: [ not understandable ]
  95.  
  96. Prof. Schaade:
  97.     I can't say, surely a lot, but I don't have exact numbers for you.
  98.     That is an information that the local health officials have and that develops very dynamically;
  99.     persons are put in quarantine until cleared, some are released again, new ones join, i.e. it changes daily.
  100.  
  101. Prof. Wieler [ who wanted to say something for a minute or two already^^]:
  102.     Just to give a magnitute: In Bavaria, where 14 were found to be infected, 240 people were quarantined at home.
  103.     This is a fixed number, as this event is closed; the current events in NRW and BW are ongoing.
  104.     You were asking about expecting Italien conditions.
  105.     The measures in Bavaria were very successful, we practice these measurements for a lot of years already in Germany.
  106.     We assume that they will also be successful in the other areas and we don't see a reason to assume that
  107.     whole cities will be closed down by civil guards, as you mean to ask when talking about Italian conditions.
  108.     There is no reason to expect that.
  109.  
  110. reporter: [ again not understandable, dude, they gave you a mic, please use it! ]
  111.  
  112. Prof Wieler:
  113.     Yes, the patient indeed was at a carneval party. This party happend in the village he is from as far as I know; it was a party with about 300-400 people.
  114.     Of course these persons will all be questioned and, if I am correctly informed, they are currently all quarantined at home.
  115.    
  116. other reporter:
  117.     Till ???, BILD, I have one question. Things are a little chaotic when talking to people.
  118.     Some are really scared, others say that is just a normal flu, don't panic.
  119.     Can you please cleary explain, because obviously it is not only the people panicing but the extreme measurements in China,
  120.     I've been in Japan for two weeks where it also was really extreme, the people are really scared, the governments are worrying.
  121.     Could you explain please: why? Why so much worry, why these hard measurements?
  122.  
  123. Prof Wieler:
  124.     If you keep track of the numbers, that are all very transparantly available on websites -
  125.     and I am talking about reliable sources: WHO, ICDC (?), Robert Koch institute, federal office of health -
  126.     then you can see that on one hand, the virus is easily transmitted. That means the speed this virus is spreading at is high.
  127.     This is one aspect. This means it is spreading easily, so we must try everything to contain it.
  128.     The second aspect is the severity of the diseasae. How many of the infected are getting sick, and how sick are they getting?
  129.     When looking at the numbers, you have to see that over 80% of the infected only show mild symptoms.
  130.     This is good news.
  131.     But there are about 15% -  these are the current numbers that constantly change - i.e. 15 of 100 get heavy symptoms.
  132.     That is a lot.
  133.     Based on our current numbers, we have to assume that about 1-2% of the infected die from this disease.
  134.     That means that this is a severe type of disease and of course this is known and thus it makes a lot of sense to use all means available
  135.     to stop the spread of this disease.
  136.  
  137. S. Glassmacher: [ inaudible ]
  138.  
  139. Prof Wieler:
  140.     Another aspect, what Ms. Glassmacher said: There is no vaccine for this virus.
  141.     Making a realisitic assumption we will not get a vaccine this year, it is simply not possible to develop and test a vaccine that fast.
  142.     It is almost certain that it will be developed this year, but it needs to be tested for effectiveness and side effects;
  143.     i.e. there are multiple clinical steps before such a vaccine can be admitted.
  144.     This is the second reason, the next one is that we currently have no medical treatment.
  145.     There are no admitted drugs of which we know that they help; there are first clues, that is already good news,
  146.     in China a lot of clinical studies are being conducted; based on our knowledge very, very efficiently.
  147.     Therefore, we expect hints about which drugs work against this disease very soon.
  148.     That is also one of the reasons why we need to get more time.
  149.     Each day and each week we can stall the spread, the chance of finding a treatmenet increases.
  150.  
  151. other reporter:
  152.     Katrin ???, süddeutsche Zeitung. My first question is, again, about the chance of transmission.
  153.     The are speculations that the virus can also transmit from asymptomic people or people that don't show symptoms yet.
  154.     Did something change there or are there new findings here? That's the first question.
  155.     The second question is regarding the tests. How high is the availability of tests in general?
  156.     By now there are also commercial tests, are they necessary to assure a test coverage, also internationally?
  157.     Furthermore there are also speculations that the virus might only appear seasonal, as is the case with the flu.
  158.    
  159.  
  160. S. Glassmacher [ interupting ]:
  161.     Please only three questions.
  162.  
  163. reporter:
  164.     Ok, well, that were three. :)
  165.  
  166. Prof. Wieler:
  167.     First question: Yes, indeed the virus is released from an early stage on, meaning that people with low symptoms can already infect others.
  168.     That is a finding we only have for a few weeks. Quick explanation: This virus, its DNA, is very similar to SARS that caused an epidemic around 17 years ago.
  169.     About SARS it was known that it did not transmit in these early stages. Therefore, at first people assumed properties similar to SARS in this regard.
  170.     That is completely normal: You have a previously non-existing virus, then you compare it to a similar virus.
  171.     That is a big difference, so yes, the virus is already transmitted earlier.
  172.     This also explains the easy and fast transmission.
  173.     Your second question was about the test. This test is a so-called [medical term I don't know, sorry...].
  174.     That is a procedure that is available in all diagnostic labs, meaning that the technology needed is available in all labs.
  175.     This procedure is not very demanding in such a lab, meaning that there is no reason to think that these tests are running out in any way
  176.     or that there are not enough available.
  177.     What we did - as I said we have a daily assessment of the situation - we reduced the requirements to be tested further and further to have
  178.     more information available how much the virus has spread. Among other things, we have four surveilance systems with which we intensively monitor
  179.     the flu each year. It is really difficult to do that, but very important to always properly assess the flu.
  180.     A lot of these surveilance tools give us impressions about how much virus is out there, which virus it is and how strongly people are infected.
  181.     As the disease [Corona] is also a pneumonia, similar to influence or SARS, we can use these monitoring system for both [the flu and Corona].
  182.     We further have a "sentinal study", where 600-700 doctors send in tests which we screen for Corona and we lowered the limit for
  183.     when a doctor tests a patient, allowing us to get more information. Meaning that also concerns billing questions and such things that need
  184.     to be taken care of with health insurances; so these are also technical questions we are solving.
  185.     The third question I did, indeed, forget.
  186.  
  187. [ inaudible ]
  188.  
  189. Prof. Wieler:
  190.     Ah, yes, the saisonality. That is a hypothesis that we are also keeping an eye on, but we can only falsify or verify it once summer is here.
  191.     There are virologists and epidemiologist who expect the virus to be saisonal and to return next year, but we simply don't know that yet.
  192.     That is a process that we continuously learn; we currently can't exclude the possiblity.
  193.  
  194. other reporter:
  195.     Nina Lahmers (?), RTL and N-TV.
  196.     There was a recent report by dpa [German press agency] that a woman in Osaka was infected, discharged and tested positive a second time.
  197.     Can you comment on that if you already have that information?
  198.     And a second question about the people and the protection of the people:
  199.     What can a single person do? We already heard a lot about masks not being as useful, so we should not all get gloves and masks,
  200.     but for the people that, in the case that things get worse, need to protect the people, i.e. paramedics or police, protection
  201.     is essential. Now the police union is critizing that the available protective masks are expired.
  202.     Are you, as Robert Koch institute, able to give recommondations, e.g. to get further stocks in, and do you act on that?
  203.  
  204. Prof. W.:
  205.     About the first question I can indeed not say anything, I am not aware of this case so I can't comment on it.
  206.     The second point is very important and it is good that you are asking.
  207.     We are in a dynamic situation, meaning the virus might further spread in Germany.
  208.     We expect both doctors and all people to give attention to this topic, that's also why this event is so important.
  209.     What can each citizen do, what can the people really do to help stopping the spread of the virus?
  210.     And there are a few trivial things, that have been, are still and will always be important.
  211.     One of them is cough-etiquette: Don't cough into your hand, cough into the crook of your arm.
  212.     As trivial as this sounds, as important it is. It has two effects.
  213.     First: We know that this virus is transmittable through droplets, i.e. if someone sneezes/coughs there is a chance of someone
  214.     in close proximity getting infected; you can prevent this by sneezing into the crook of your arm.
  215.     The second aspect is to please not sneeze into your hand. Why's that? Naturally the virus can survive on the hand for a certain time.,
  216.     meaning that if you sneeze into your hand and then shake hands with someone, you can transmit the virus.
  217.     It is indeed an efficient way if you wash your hands regularly; if you can't there are also gels, desinfecting gels.
  218.     These are not almost necessary, but if you are not able to wash your hands, then such a gel can be useful.
  219.     By doing that, you can make sure that, if you yourself are infected, you don't transmit the virus.
  220.     Next point is if you are sick, we really ask you to stay at home. Do not go to big events, do not use public transportation,
  221.     stay at home, call a doctor and tell them that you have a certain disease, and then you have to come to an agreement with
  222.     the doctor if you should go to them or they come to your place or however. That is something where you, where we all,
  223.     completely independent of our job, can contribute.
  224.     The second aspect you mentioned about the masks: If you yourself are sick and you a wearing such a mask, the effect is similar.
  225.     If you chough or sneeze, the droplets can't be transmitted as far; that is clear. But for everyday life,
  226.     there is no evidence that this helps in any way. What we also expect is that the doctors, on the other hand, also think;
  227.     on one hand we expect patients who show symtoms of the flu to not simply go to the doctor and infect others in the process, but on the other
  228.     hand we also expect doctors to think about how to organize their daily routine; e.g. invite people with flu-like symptoms only at certain times.
  229.     There are thus a lot of actions; I think if everyone knows how the virus is transmitted and which symptoms you have, then a lot of people
  230.     in our society, then we all can help slow down the spread. That is an important point, all of us have something we can do
  231.     by simply using common sense; that is very important, we aren't defenceless in front of that.
  232.     And that we release recommondations is clear; you can find them on our website and there are concrete efforts on the European level
  233.     to get more of these masks.
  234.  
  235. reporter:
  236.     Can I add another question?
  237.  
  238. S. Glassmacher:
  239.     Quickly please.
  240.  
  241. reporter:
  242.     Yes, I'll make it quick.
  243.     If that case in Osaka, that you can get infected twice, if that seems to be the case with this new virus,
  244.     what would that mean? for the spread?
  245.  
  246. Prof W.:
  247.     As I said: We haven't seen that case up to now; I can't/I don't want to make a statement on that because we...
  248.     Based on everything we know so far, you are infected and by that gain immunity against it.
  249.     What is clear, of course, is that you release the virus for a certain time after [ the symptoms];
  250.     that is always the question on when to be released from the hospital, and it is possible that the same virus
  251.     was still present; so the speculation of being infected a second time after passing the first one is,
  252.     based on everything we know so far, not plausible.
  253.  
  254. new reporter:
  255.     ? Wildermut for the WDR, I also have three questions.
  256.     The first is about family doctors. Do you give them concrete advice on what to do on your website?
  257.     The second one: You recommend general vaccinations (whooping cough etc.).
  258.     Is it recommended to get vaccinated now, as other diseases can lower your defenses [ against Corona ]?
  259.     And the third question: Comparing this virus to the flu, where do you get?
  260.  
  261. Prof W.:
  262.     Yeah, good questions. These questions were all good, they were very good.
  263.     About family doctors: We have general advice for family doctors on our website, yes.
  264.     But we don't have concrete advice on how to handle special cases, as each medical practice is differently
  265.     structured, you can't solve every single case centralized.
  266.     This will never be the case, as it would be wrong instructions for some practices.
  267.     There are generic advices and there is advice on how to deal with patients, with tests, with diagnosing;
  268.     such things you can find with us.
  269.     Family doctors also always have the possiblity to contact local health officials and we do expect that.
  270.     I'll repeat myself: Doctors are highly educated people and can also deduce actions themselves,
  271.     that's what they are trained for.
  272.     The question about vaccines is a very good one. I am mad that I didn't mention it myself at the beginning.
  273.     So, look: Why does the vaccination department at the Robert Koch institute such sound recommondations?
  274.     Because they have the expertise, using statistical models, using estimated values and efficiency studies
  275.     to recomment certain vaccines. And we recomment these vaccines with a strong belief
  276.     that through them we can lower the amount of sickness in the population and also protect individual people.
  277.     That means I can only ask all people, no matter if we are in this situation now, including the flu season,
  278.     I can only ask all people to follow these recommondations - there is an app for that -
  279.     and get vaccinated; the German health insurance system covers all costs.
  280.     In this concrete case we have now, it's clear, we already know and it will stay like that, that there are
  281.     certain high risk groups that have a high risk to get really sick from this virus infection.
  282.     These are the classical high risk groups: Elderly and very old people, because their immune system isn't
  283.     working as well anymore as is the case with middle aged and young people and because old people often have
  284.     pre-existing illnesses that overall lower their potential to deal with such an infection.
  285.     And then there are risk groups like immune-transplanted [? never heard of that, so not sure if right term]
  286.     or people with other pre-existing conditions. And these people we always ask to get vaccinated
  287.     against ? and whooping cough, and of course the flu. Each year I'm angry, well we all sitting here are,
  288.     and everyone thinking about it is massively annoyed about the amount of people in our population that
  289.     we ask to get vaccinated and they don't. These are all vaccinations hat protect the lung,
  290.     we are talking about a pneumonia and everyone who already had one - hope it's not many, I myself had one once -
  291.     pneumonia are hard diseases that have the potential to end in death.
  292.     Everyone who has the chance to protect themselves by getting vaccinated should please do so.
  293.     Why? Just assume you have a double infection; just assume you have a virus infection and
  294.     you get a pneumonia on top; of course the course of the illness is more grave then.
  295.     That's why vaccinations are important and the right way and right now, the vaccinations
  296.     that protect you from infections of the lung are of special importance.
  297.    
  298.     The third point was the flu. I assume that you want to know about  the graveness [ possibly wrong English term, sorry... ]
  299.     of the disease. We have hundreds of people dying from flu in Germany each year, sometimes tens of thousands.
  300.     That's why we warn and ask each year to get vaccinated. We have here rates, statistical numbers, lethality rates of
  301.     0.1-0.2%. The rates we saw so far are higher, almost 10x as high, 5-10x so high for Corona.
  302.     That are the numbers we have so far, but they change continuously because we don't have enough numbers yet.
  303.     For example, the rates are higher in China than outside of China; the reason might be that in China...
  304.     First, understand that we can never detect everyone infected. Many people have few or no symptoms at all, meaning that
  305.     the real denominator [ to compute the rate ] is bigger than what we see. Meaning in China, you will surely see more
  306.     grave cases and thus more deaths; outside of China we are at rates of around 1%, they might also be lower.
  307.     These are the current numbers. What is clear is that the rates of deaths is higher than with the flu.
  308.     How much higher we will see once this epidemic is over.
  309.    
  310.  
  311. next reporter:
  312.     ? for the DPA, also three questions. First about the quarantine regulations we currently have,
  313.     both domestic and at clinics. If we get a lot more cases, can the clinics even keep up with the isolation;
  314.     concerning beds, nurses and doctors?
  315.     Second question: Is it known how well the virus can survive on surfaces; e.g. door knobs, fruits or
  316.     even toys imported from China. How long, how durable and how infectious?
  317.     And would it be recommended to touch door knobs with gloves or your sleeve?
  318.     And you mentioned when you have symptoms don't go to events or use public transport. How about the work place?
  319.     So coughs and sneezing in our dutiful workforce?
  320.  
  321. Prof:
  322.     About the beds: It's a question about quantity, that much is clear.
  323.     We don't know how it will spread; we will do these procedures as stringent as possible.
  324.     As long as we can we will do it, and of course we hope that we can handle it;
  325.     but we don't know how it will develop. It is checked daily and we will see how well we can contain
  326.     the virus.
  327.     Well, let's assume hospital beds. First of all, hospitals are currently freeing up beds.
  328.     There are a lot of operations that can be moved, thus gaining beds.
  329.     There are still options to scale. Next point would be, in case you need a lot of beds,
  330.     more than are available, one would let patients out of isolation and send them home sooner than is done now,
  331.     to be able to refill the beds earlier. There are different levels you can use.
  332.     About the question of surfaces: The important point is to wash your hands.
  333.     In a hospital, in a setup where you are dealing with patients, where you actually have confirmed cases
  334.     you would of course disinfect surfaces; but in other cases you would not.
  335.    
  336.  
  337. reporter:
  338.     Is there something known about the durability?
  339.  
  340. Prof:
  341.     Well, I have forgotten that, but he knows.
  342.  
  343. Prof Schaade:
  344.     Corona virus can survive and infect at room temperature for an average of 4 days; sometimes it can be a few more days.
  345.     But that is showing things under lab conditions. For the transfer between people, the droplet infection
  346.     is the important part. If surfaces are contaminated, hand washing is the right way to battle that,
  347.     there is no reason to disinfect e.g. handrails in public buildings.
  348.     Just as Mr. W. said: Close to patients, in a hospital or if a patient is isolated at home,
  349.     this is where disinfection is useful; but not in public.
  350.  
  351. reporter:
  352.     So you can purchase fruits from northern Italy without concern?
  353.  
  354. Prof Schaade:
  355.     Yes.
  356.  
  357.  
  358. S. Glassmacher:
  359.     Maybe to add: The "Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung" [i.e. "not us" xD ] is in charge of
  360.     food; they already gave a statement on that topic.
  361.     [ to Prof W. ] About the workers...
  362.  
  363. Prof W.:
  364.     Ah, yes, of course that is logical, just think about it. Of course that is also true for employees.
  365.     I said it is true for people, and employees are people. One way would be home office in case the epidemic
  366.     spreads further, even if you are not [ yet ] sick; just to be less mobile overall.
  367.     There are a lot of ways and there are plans, pandemic plans that companies have, there are plans on
  368.     the federal level, at hospitals; there are a lot of these things prepared telling you what to do
  369.     what you can do. Yes, this is all part of it, of course.
  370.  
  371. next reporter:
  372.     Georg Ling (?) of SWR. I would like to ask: You are still assuming that infection chains can
  373.     be determined while trying to contain it. Aren't we already way past that in your opinion?
  374.     Even the minister of health said we can't trace everything anymore.
  375.     What state are we in there, isn't that containment strategy void already because things are out of control?
  376.     And the second question: Spahn and Seehofer communicated the instalalation of a crisis center at noon.
  377.     What more can they do that you can't? You said you are working in two shifts etc.
  378.     Is that just to calm down the public or will you coordinate it?
  379.     Thanks.
  380.  
  381. Prof W.:
  382.     First: No, clearly no, it is not yet out of control.
  383.     I want to emphazise it again: We had one case in Bavaria.
  384.     We supported, but the colleagues in Bavaria where the ones who successfully
  385.     stopped the spread, they put 240, or I think 241, citizens into domestic quarantine;
  386.     and these people cooperated, this case is over, so that works.
  387.     We had two new cases only two days ago and the health departments are currently
  388.     conducting interviews, tracing the contact; so if it is out of control or not we
  389.     can currently not know, we assume it is under control.
  390.     You know it is just like in a crime thriller: Suddenly there are new leads,
  391.     new contact persons; you record them and put them under domestic quarantine.
  392.     So no, in the contrary: We will continue that strategy.
  393.     It is of course possible that we reach the point - when there are new cases in Germany,
  394.     which is possible - that at some point we no longer have control.
  395.     But still, and that is important to understand, still we will continue like that -
  396.     the local authorities (partly with our assistance partly without) - because we can
  397.     still slow down the spread of the virus this way.
  398.     Even if we can no longer trace every case; by still finding people that are potential
  399.     infection sources and putting them on domestic quarantine, we can still keep these sources in check.
  400.     That is very important to understand. On one hand is the containment strategy and then suddenly
  401.     you pull a lever and go to the next level. No! The containment will continue,
  402.     no matter how many cases there are.
  403.     Of course it is clear that at some point, the capacity is reached and not everyone can be traced
  404.     anymore, but you will still find and eliminate sources of infection.
  405.     This is very, very important because it reduces the spread.
  406.     About the second question: He [ pats Prof S. ] is a better, crisis experienced man
  407.     than I am, so Mr. Schaade will answer that one. I am really new in this office.
  408.  
  409. Prof S.:
  410.     We, as the Robert Koch institute, are a technical institute in the department of health.
  411.     We forward information from WHO and EU to the federal states in Germany and also the other way round,
  412.     e.g. information about patients shared between states, so a technical coordination
  413.     in the health sector. On top of that we are in need of coordination on the national and political level.
  414.     This will be the task of the crisis center the minister mentioned.
  415.  
  416. next reporter:
  417.     Buchsteiner from RND. Could you, Prof. Wieler, describe what will change in the next phase,
  418.     that isn't clear to me yet. Measures that concern the public live, e.g. "Infektionsschutzgesetz".
  419.     And the second question: What happens with the people who made a test but don't have the results yet?
  420.     What do you recomment in these cases, that are the rules?
  421.  
  422. Prof W.:
  423.     Well, first of we take the measures we discussed. It is important that we inform,
  424.     meaning inform people how they should act. That includes for example the instalation of hotlines
  425.     for people to ask how to act, both for infected and contact persons.
  426.     We currently have two levels of contact persons that are treated differently.
  427.     First degree contact persons, i.e. intensive contact, should stay in domestic quarantine.
  428.     Others are contact persons that were in a risk area, e.g. in northern Italy.
  429.     These persons we tell to monitor themselves, take your temperature etc.
  430.     but you can partake in normal life; maybe don't go to mass events, keep an eye on yourself.
  431.     If these people get sick they should go into domestic isolation.
  432.     What are further measurements?
  433.     We would like to reduce the overall mobility.
  434.     So what we were talking about, people rather staying at home, cancelling of big events,
  435.     of travels, companies switching to home office where possible;
  436.     so that we overall reduce mobility to make sure the virus doesn't spread further.
  437.     You can close down certain mass accommodation facilities.
  438.     So it is about limiting mobility and making sure to reduce contact between people.
  439.     You can for example tell people, especially older people that are in the classical high risk groups:
  440.     Only go shopping once a week, stay at home.
  441.     All that are concrete measures to suggest to people;
  442.     all these ae in place and would be given to people seeking information; reduce public life.
  443.  
  444. [ inaudible question/comment ]
  445.  
  446. Prof W.:
  447.     Yes. Yes, yes.
  448.     We test both well-grounded suspected cases, meaning you have reason...
  449.     There are reasons on our website why someone should be tested.
  450.     During that time, if the person is sick...
  451.     The test result, I would say, one day; at most it should take one day until
  452.     results are in. During that time, people should stay at home whenever possible of course
  453.     and not infect others.
  454.    
  455. next reporter:
  456.        
  457.     Holger (?) ???, Pro7/Sat1, I have three questions.
  458.     First question: Why are males affected more than females?
  459.     How about pets, can pets get infected?
  460.     And my third question: What would be the worst that could happen right now?
  461.  
  462. Prof W.:
  463.    
  464.     Well, no one knows why males are affected more than females; could also be
  465.     due to certain factors like in work places... we simply don't know, I can't tell.
  466.     There is no sign of pets getting infected, no signs at all so far.
  467.     And the worst case scenario is an epidemic throughout Germany and lots of people getting sick.
  468.     If you think back to the flu epidemic 2017/2018, where 10 million people went to the doctor,
  469.     that was a really severe case pushing the German health system to its limits.
  470.     That is a really bad perception, to have something similar happening again.
  471.    
  472.  
  473. next person:
  474.     Virologist from the US have the theory that there are antibodies empowering the infection
  475.     with this Corona virus and that this would make the development of a vaccine harder.
  476.     Did you hear about that and does your team have an opinion on that?
  477.  
  478.  
  479. Prof W.:
  480.     No. I don't know/haven't heard about that and can therefore not comment on it. 
  481.  
  482.  
  483. next:
  484.     I have another question about the virus. Corona virus doesn't change in the same way
  485.     influenca does. Still you mentioned before that in some regions more people are dying,
  486.     in others less. Are there signs from that data, e.g. Iran compared to China,
  487.     that different virus strains might be forming?
  488.  
  489.  
  490. Prof W.:
  491.     I want to emphazise, especially for you, as we had this discussion before:
  492.     I did not claim that in some regions, more people are dying as in others but I
  493.     said that we do not know the denominator.
  494.     We are talking about numbers that change almost daily, that's one point,
  495.     that is really important.
  496.     The second point is that Corona viruses do change far less than influenca ones.
  497.     We have around 100 genomes in public data bases and the changes are only marginal;
  498.     there are small mutations, but there are no mutations pointing towards a different
  499.     biology so far.
  500.  
  501. next:
  502.     Doerthe ?, RBB. Many countries cancelled big events, cancelled international events
  503.     due to fear of spread. You are talking about containment and say this is the most
  504.     efficient protection. Wouldn't it be, under these conditions, wise to cancel big events,
  505.     like e.g. the ETB next week, as long as we don't exactly know this virus?
  506.  
  507. Prof W.:
  508.     Well, that are decisions that can be made and that we have to talk about.
  509.     These are decisions that the one holding such an event needs to make.
  510.     I know that, also in Germany, multiple events were cancelled.
  511.     One reason for that is that simply not enough people would even attend.
  512.     It is of course sensible, but it is something that needs to be decided anew
  513.     each day. You know, if for example you still have just a few cases,
  514.     then you can thinking about doing such an event. But the more cases there are,
  515.     internationally, where people would arrive from high risk areas,
  516.     then of course the chance that such events will be cancelled rises.
  517.    
  518.    
  519. next:
  520.     You were talking about vaccines and pre-conditions, especially
  521.     in the older population.
  522.     There is a gigantic range of pre-conditions.
  523.     Should the ones concerning the lung, e.g. astma or COPT,
  524.     get vaccinated even more than diabetics or other cronically ill
  525.     or do you not differentiate there?
  526.  
  527. Prof W.:
  528.     No. There are recommondations and they apply.
  529.     They apply independently of a new virus being around or not.
  530.  
  531. same asker again:
  532.     As I don't know the recommondations by heart:
  533.     What does that mean, is there a difference or not?
  534.  
  535. Prof W.:
  536.     Well, there are recommondations - you will excuse that I don't know all of them for
  537.     each and every virus and vaccine right now - but I only want to say that these recommondations
  538.     can be read. Some are only recommended for a certain risk group, certain age group;
  539.     these recommondations are valid independently of what is happening with the Corona virus.
  540.     But again: The ones that are our main focus are the elderly, the very old;
  541.     the most receptive and weakest when we are talking about diseases.
  542.     Based on that definition, "elderly" starts for me in a year already unfortunately,
  543.     when I turn 60.
  544.  
  545.  
  546. next:
  547.     I wanted to ask: There are different forecasts about how many can get infected.
  548.     Some say if it really gets out of control 40% will get infected, others say 70%.
  549.     That is a giant difference, are there any reliable cues here?
  550.  
  551. Prof W.:
  552.     Forecasts are always hard, especially concerning the future.
  553.     No, in fact these are exactly the questions we cannot answer yet.
  554.     We will see how it will develop further, that's why we try to
  555.     contain it as far as possible, but we can really not say.
  556.     Ms. Glassmacher just mentioned a special situation:
  557.     The diamond princess containing, I don't have the exact numbers,
  558.     I think 3600 people on board, around 20% of them are infected.
  559.     But that was a special setting, where you would assume that the
  560.     chance of getting infected is higher than in a normal environment,
  561.     as we normaly don't live so closely together.
  562.     That is a number we have there, 20%, but we can really not give a
  563.     forecast.
  564.  
  565.    
  566. next:
  567.     Malissa ? from the NY times, I've got a question.
  568.     Looking at China, looking at Italy with containment,
  569.     Germany is on a different route, a little bit more open so to say,
  570.     putting people selectively under domestic quarantine.
  571.     Can you say something about this German strategy and why you think
  572.     that this is the right way? Thanks.
  573.  
  574. Prof W.:
  575.     This is not a German strategy, this is the strategy that all countries
  576.     employ, with a very, very small amount of exceptions.
  577.     The major exception is, surely, China, that needs to be made clear.
  578.     China has used a totally different strategy.
  579.     But I want to emphazise that this is China-specific,
  580.     because in China shortly before Christmas there was an outbreak of a,
  581.     at that time unknown, virus that spread rapidly and they went on
  582.     full lock down, meaning they closed off a whole city of around 11 million people,
  583.     I think at first it was around 5 million. They totally stopped public life,
  584.     asked everyone to stay at home, completely stopped trafic just recently.
  585.     The whole thing is surrounded.
  586.     Based on our information, there are 1200 teams, 5 persons each,
  587.     doing contact tracing and advicing people 24/7, getting people treatment,
  588.     doing tests.
  589.     Thease are extreme measures used in China and due to the high density and
  590.     the intensity of the outbreak at the beginning - this needs to be
  591.     said: this outbreak happend there like an explosion, while we in the rest
  592.     of the world are watching and waiting for each case to quickly identify it,
  593.     allowing us to react far better. Where an outbreak is totally out of control -
  594.     for example there are publications that at the beginning 40% of employees at some
  595.     hospitals got infected - that is a totally different magnitude.
  596.     We are in a way better position.
  597.     When it started in China, there was no test, they didn't know what virus it was.
  598.     Thus, it can really not be compared.
  599.    
  600. next:
  601.     I'm asking myself: When are you a suspected case?
  602.     At first it was clear: Have symptoms and recent contact with people from
  603.     the crisis regions in China.
  604.     But now it starts with normal symptoms. And does a family doctor even have
  605.     access to such Corona tests?
  606.  
  607. Prof W.:
  608.     That's a good question. We still have clear definitions of a suspected case.
  609.     You were in the region in the last 14 days, the incubation period,
  610.     the longest one we know of. So you were in a certain high risk area
  611.     and had contact with a person that was later tested positively.
  612.     These are two clear criteria if you are a suspected case or not.
  613.     By now, we have further lowered that, this limit when you are tested,
  614.     by saying that now that we have cases in Germany we also want differential
  615.     diagnosis, meaning if someone is tested for the flu, we want the doctors
  616.     to also test for Corona. To have a higher sensitivity, to even sooner
  617.     recognize a Corona case. This test you are talking about is a test done
  618.     in a lab. The important question: Will the test be covered [ by health insurance ]?
  619.     And yes, it is.
  620.     [ Remark here: He used "abrechnen" in German, it is my assumption that he means "covered" by that.]
  621.     The test is quite easy: They take a sample in the upper mouth/nose region,
  622.     send the sample into the lab and get the results after a certain time.
  623.     Of course this option is available to all German doctors.
  624.     So again, I can't tell you exactly how many labs already offer that test,
  625.     but the numbers are increasing and it is technically not difficult.
  626.     The machines to run the tests are in every standard diagnostic lab,
  627.     so there is no capacity in sight there.
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