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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: Forschungszentrum Julich Updated simulations on the possible course of the corona pandemic by Dr. Jan Fuhrmann (Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich Supercomputing Center) and Dr. Maria Barbarossa (Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies)

Jülich / Frankfurt, November 26, 2020 – A few weeks ago, researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) simulated possible scenarios for the further course of the corona pandemic up to spring 2021 (press release from 6. November 2020). On the basis of the latest figures, the researchers have now recalculated the course, taking into account various scenarios for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For their forecasts, they used mathematical models that were developed for predictions during the course of the first COVID-19 wave. The results are based on assumptions that relate to the contact rate and can provide helpful information to consider the long and medium-term effects of differently strong contact reductions on the infection process; however, the effectiveness of specific measures cannot be derived directly from this.

Developments so far In October, stricter corona measures were introduced in many cities in Germany, for example an expanded mask requirement, stricter upper celebration limits and restrictions on the serving of alcohol. In November, the federal and state government adopted the “lockdown light” with further measures, including the closure of leisure facilities and restaurants. The previous measures have resulted in stagnating case numbers, but not yet in a significant reduction in reported new infections. The number of hospitalizations or intensive care patients continues to rise, albeit more slowly than in October. One caveat, however, is that the test strategy in Germany changed almost simultaneously with the lockdown measures in November, so that it is currently difficult to precisely determine the effectiveness of the lockdown and the measures that had already been taken, as it is not entirely clear The simulations show that lengthening or strengthening the currently effective contact restrictions (by maintaining current measures, introducing alternative regulations or also through individual restrictions) would lead to a decrease in new infections in the medium term . If the contact rates remained well below the level of late summer, a third wave could be suppressed, but if all measures (including those introduced locally in October) were lifted at the end of November or in December, the number of daily reported cases should be around two weeks increase again. A third wave loomed. Effect of contacts at Christmas and New Year’s Eve Possible increased contacts at Christmas and New Year’s Eve could also contribute to the spread of the virus as new sources. The expansion of contacts through visits to families and acquaintances, possibly across the whole country, could lead to an increased geographical distribution of the infection. This would mean that regions with a lower incidence would also be exposed again, which would lead to a greater increase in new infections overall. How much the contact rate increases due to this “Christmas effect” is difficult to assess, as there is no empirical data, for example from last year . We have therefore assumed as the “best case” that the effective contact rate remains constant on average over Christmas, for example because the small increase due to family visits is offset by the loss of contacts at work or at school. In the “worst case” we are against it assumed that the visits at Christmas and New Year’s Eve resulted in a significantly increased contact rate. In all of the cases considered, it is crucial whether the contact reductions already achieved in October are maintained: “Best case”: Contact rate remains constant Assumption: The average effective contact rate would remain constant over Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The “lockdown light” will be extended into the third week of December (until December 20th), after which either all measures will be lifted or contact reductions will be received as in October.

New cases reported daily / patients requiring invasive ventilation New cases reported daily in the seven-day moving average Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / FIAS (use permitted for editorial reporting provided the source is indicated) Scenario 1 (blue): The contact reductions already achieved in October will be canceled after the lockdown has been lifted (on December 20 Scenario 2 (black): Almost all measures will be lifted or ineffective at the end of the lockdown (on December 20th).

“Worst case”: Contact rate increases by 50 percent Assumption: A significantly higher contact rate is assumed for the time around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The effective contacts are increased by 50 percent compared to the otherwise prevailing situation in the respective scenario. The “lockdown light” will be extended into the third week of December (until December 20th), after which either all measures will be lifted or contact reductions will be received as in October.

New cases reported daily / patients requiring invasive ventilation New cases reported daily in the seven-day moving average Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / FIAS (use permitted for editorial reporting provided the source is indicated) Scenario 1 (blue): The contact reductions already achieved in October will be canceled after the lockdown has been lifted (on December 20 Scenario 2 (black): Almost all measures will be lifted or ineffective at the end of the lockdown (on December 20th).

A phenomenon similar to the “Christmas effect” described above could already be observed twice in the course of the year: The daily report of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of November 17, 2020 shows the proportion of corona cases in which the infection is likely abroad has taken place. The figure shows that the proportion of those returning from abroad among the newly infected reached peak values ​​during the winter and summer holidays and accounted for up to around 50 percent of all infections – when there were many people on the road and the number of cases in Germany was relatively low (It remains to be seen whether and to what extent the increased testing of return travelers distorts these data). Something similar could happen over Christmas and New Year’s Eve if visits within Germany spread the infection nationwide, even if trips to more severely affected areas abroad do not take place at all. Presentation of the cases with a likely site of infection abroad compared to all other casesCopyright: RKI, https: / /www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Situationsberichte/Nov_2020/2020-11-17-de.pdf?__blob=publicationFile, www.rki.de/covid-19-situationsbericht Which contacts and measures will be Considered here? The simulations of the infection process are based on a consideration of the contact rate. In order to reduce the number of cases, from an epidemiological point of view only the “relevant” contacts, namely those between contagious and non-infected, non-immune people, need to be reduced. Which measures are used to achieve this is not pursued further here. General contact restrictions are probably the easiest way to reduce the “relevant contacts”. Because of the different courses of the infection, it is usually difficult or impossible to recognize your own condition (infectious / not immune). This makes it the safest option to reduce as many contacts as possible so that the relevant contacts are also prevented. If, alternatively, a sufficient number of actually relevant contacts can be avoided through the use of rapid tests and suitable, targeted quarantine measures, the number of cases could be reduced, for example, without some general contact restrictions. Further information: Press release from Forschungszentrum Jülich from November 6th 2020, “COVID-19: Simulations show possible course for different measures” Jülich Supercomputing CenterFrankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) Original publication: Germany’s next shutdown – possible scenarios and outcomesMaria Vittoria Barbarossa, Jan FuhrmannTo appear in influenza and other respiratory viruses, https: //authorea.com/doi/full/10.22541/au.160525265.51083038/v1 (preprint) Contact details: Dr. Jan FuhrmannForschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich Supercomputing CentreTel .: +49 69 798 47691E-mail: j.fuhrmann@fz-juelich.deDr. Maria BarbarossaFrankfurt Institute for Advanced StudiesTel .: +49 69 798 47651E-Mail: barbarossa@fias.uni-frankfurt.dePress contact: Annette StettienForschungszentrum Jülich, Corporate CommunicationTel .: 0173 7403839E-Mail: a.stettien@fz-juelich.deTobias SchlößerForschungszentrum Jülich, Corporate communication Tel .: 02461 61-4771 E-Mail: t.schloesser@fz-juelich.de

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