Bautzen’s vaccination rate is miserable – but the incidence is great-how does it work?

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Jeff Horseman
Jeff Horseman got into journalism because he liked to write and stunk at math. He grew up in Vermont and he honed his interviewing skills as a supermarket cashier by asking Bernie Sanders “Paper or plastic?” After graduating from Syracuse University in 1999, Jeff began his journalistic odyssey at The Watertown Daily Times in upstate New York, where he impressed then-U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Clinton so much she called him “John” at the end of an interview. From there, he went to Annapolis, Maryland, where he covered city, county and state government at The Capital newspaper. Today, Jeff writes about anything and everything. Along the way, Jeff has covered wildfires, a tropical storm, 9/11 and the Dec. 2 terror attack in San Bernardino. If you have a question or story idea about politics or the inner workings of government, please let Jeff know. He’ll do his best to answer, even if it involves a little math.

Experts puzzle
Bautzen’s vaccination rate is miserable – but the corona incidence is great-how does it work?

Saxony is vaccination deadline light, but the incidence in Bautzen is great

Saxony’s vaccination centers have called for the final sprint before the closure. In no state is the vaccination rate lower.

© Sebastian Kahnert / Picture Alliance

In no other federal state is so little vaccinated against Corona as in Saxony. Nevertheless, one district currently trumps with a top incidence: Bautzen. Why is that?

The vaccination rate throughout the country is far from as high as experts would like. But nowhere are so few syringes set as in the East-especially Saxony. The federal state is almost 20 percentage points behind the leader Bremen. And the corona case numbers are rising again. Only in the district of Bautzen are the numbers surprising: the incidence, on Friday it was 18,8, is among the lowest in the whole country. How can that be?

At the end of last year, the situation in Saxony came to a head and the number of infections exploded. The situation in the district of Bautzen was particularly critical. Meanwhile, the seven-day incidence was more than 500 new infections per 100,000 people. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 41.9 percent of the population is now considered fully vaccinated. That’s little. By comparison, the national vaccination rate is currently 62 percent.

Do the recovered ones provide a low incidence?

So how can it be that the incidence is currently so low? Could the many recovered, almost 27,000 people should be, have a positive influence on the corona situation? Alexander Dalpke, head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Virology at the Medical Faculty of TU Dresden, is not convinced. He told the “Sächsische Zeitung”: “The number of people recovering is not enough to keep the incidence low.”

Even if one computes recovered and vaccinated, this is not enough to achieve herd immunity of 85 to 90 percent. Such, however, is necessary to contain the delta variant of the virus, explains the virologist. The recovered portion in Bautzen is not sufficient for such an effect. Especially since this does not compensate for the low vaccination rate in the region.

The square and sand-coloured tower of the Zittau crematorium can be seen between fir trees

Vaccination rate could soon cause Bautzen concern

Instead, it could be that the holidays made their contribution to the fact that the corona numbers in Bautzen are currently so low. At the beginning of July, when it went on holiday there, the incidences were very low. This is still having an effect, says Christian Jassoy, acting head of Research and teaching at the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Virology in Leipzig. Where there are fewer foci of infection, the virus initially spreads more slowly than in a place with many infected people, he explains to the paper.

In other words: what is already visible elsewhere could now really start in Bautzen. “ The data suggest that the number of infections in the region will only increase a little later, ” says Alexander Dalpke. “The holidays in Saxony have only now come to an end; the travel-imported infections are only now slowly coming to light.”

It is not clear why Bautzen’s incidence is currently so low. Much remains speculation. So it could also be that some people would now act more cautiously due to the high number of cases and deaths in the last wave. However, the two experts are certain on one point: The number of infections will also rise again in Bautzen. Soon, Jassoy fears, the district could even be worse off than many other regions. He sees the low vaccination rate as a key sticking point. “Intensive care units, “Dalpke also predicts,”will fill up with unvaccinated people.”

Source: Sächsische Zeitung, Vaccination dashboard

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