Who is dying from Corona and how reliable are the numbers?

Vaccination status has not been checked in a restaurant, cinema or swimming pool for several weeks. The obligation to perform tests for unvaccinated persons was also abolished there. And from May, kindergartens and school-age children no longer need to be regularly checked. Nevertheless, new crown numbers are published daily.

About 200 people die every day in Germany “from Corona or with Corona,” reports say. Who is this? How do you know who dies from or from a Corona in practice? And what does the current data situation mean for the course of the pandemic? Answers from the doctor and mathematician.

Dying with a crown or with a crown – how are doctors different?

In practice, it is difficult to say whether someone dies of the coronavirus or coronavirus, says infectionologist Bernd Salzberger from the University Hospital in Regensburg. “The death occurred in a temporal relationship with a corona infection – that’s ultimately a job we’re doing,” he explains in an interview with BR.

The fact that corona infection primarily causes the death of elderly, unvaccinated people with pre-existing diseases is confirmed not only by Dr. Salzberger, but also by Kristan Schneider, professor of modeling and simulation at the University of Applied Sciences in Mittweida. “The risk of dying from a crown increases exponentially when you’re over sixty,” says BR. From the beginning of the pandemic, the mathematician creates predictive models for individual virus waves.

Situation in the data – also inaccurate due to the lack of a vaccination register

Whether those who died from Corona had previous illnesses or were fully or only partially vaccinated – there are no conclusive statistics on this. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) only lists the number of deaths in its weekly report. They show that the risk of dying from corona infection increases sharply from the age of 60. Not more. The lack of or insufficient data on the deceased’s vaccination status is mainly due to the lack of a vaccination register.

The registration of corona vaccinations can improve the data situation

For modeller and mathematician Kristan Schneider, vaccination registration would be “very important”. Overall, he believes that more data than before is needed to deal with a pandemic. For example, in addition to the vaccination status, the age of the patients, their previous illnesses and possible risk factors.

According to Schneider, this would allow for more targeted vaccination recommendations. He also considers the data on the length of stay in the hospital to be important. This provides information on how long “capacity is limited in the hospital”.

Large number of unreported people infected with the corona

While physician Salzberger is less critical of the corona infection data and believes that “we are actually recording most of the data,” mathematician Schneider is skeptical. He calls the “data vacuum” caused by the lack of data transmission on infections, especially on weekends, and the sparse tests “absolute disaster”.

This’ distortion ‘, as describes the imprecise numbers due to the large number of unreported cases,’ we also cannot correct well. This is because different age groups have very different cases, but also different risks of severe disease. ‘ .

There is a lack of electronic patient files – and with them the data

Schneider criticizes that important information, such as previous illnesses and vaccination status, cannot be read from the data published by the RKI, and would like to have an electronic patient record containing exactly this data. For him, countries with a so-called “Covid zero strategy” such as New Zealand and Australia are role models. They have “better” numbers and “better” vaccination rates and still require PCR testing for entry.

He warns Germany against “a great advantage for which you have worked hard […] In his opinion, if the situation is not followed closely, it is “taking the opportunity to be able to respond quickly in the fall.” Fall, when experts say another wave of corona infections could be at risk.

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