Great concern in the West, relative calm in the East: at first glance, the fourth Corona wave seems to be a problem for the old federal states. From Bavaria over the Rhineland and the Ruhr area up to Hamburg, the deep red band of high infection figures, Intensive care units are filling up again, experts already expect new contact restrictions again.
At the same time, it appears that currently vaccination rates in the east are also significantly lower than in the west. What's going on? And what does the big east-west difference mean for fall?
How big are the differences between East and West??
On Sunday, the regional incidences in most of the old federal states were on average significantly higher than in the new ones: according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the frontrunners were the states of Bremen, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia with a Seven-day value well above 100, followed by Baden-Wurttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland with scores above 90. The situation in the eastern German states is quite different: Here, incidences recently ranged from 36.2 (Brandenburg) to 22.9 (Saxony-Anhalt).
What are the reasons for the disparity in new infections??
Last year, the Pandemic in the old federal states, with the main focus on the Rhineland, Hamburg and Bavaria. Many of these initial hotspots arose from travelers returning from ski vacations, and Carnival proved to be a superspreader event. Then the wave also spilled over into the new federal states – especially in Saxony and Thuringia the incidences went steeply upwards. This time it seems to be similar again: In Berlin, Hamburg and NRW, the summer vacations ended and incidences rose. But the end of the vacations is not the only reason for high waves of infection.
"There are several reasons for the large East-West difference in the incidences," SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach told our editorial team. "First, there are many more people with a migration background living in the old federal states who travel to their home countries in summer. Many infections can be traced back to such visits to relatives in Turkey or Kosovo, for example." The RKI list of the most frequently mentioned countries of infection is currently headed by Turkey, followed by Kosovo.
"Secondly, there are many more young people living in the western part of the country, among whom the incidence is significantly higher due to poorer vaccination rates. Thirdly international mobility Higher overall than in the east. Summer vacation in Spain, France or Italy occurs more often here."And finally, the fact that cities such as Berlin and Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt or Munich have much more to do with city tourism, congress and conference travelers than many eastern German regions may also play a role.
The Federal Government Commissioner for Eastern Germany, Marco Wanderwitz (CDU), confirms much of it: "The average age is higher, and many older people are just already vaccinated. In addition, the regions are often more sparsely populated, basic mobility is lower, and the virus does not spread as quickly."In addition: "Many people are still on vacation at the moment."In Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, the school vacations ended this weekend. The relative calm in the east – it could be deceptive.
What is the situation with vaccination?
Here, too, there is a clear east-west difference: according to the latest RKI weekly report, the range most recently extended to the voll vaccinated People from around 52 percent in Saxony to a good 71 percent in Bremen.
In general, there is a great deal of concern: In Germany, the Vaccination fatigue broad. The RKI report states that the proportion of fully immunized German citizens, at around 61 percent, continued to rise only slowly compared with the previous week (59 percent). From the end of July to the end of August, the vaccination rate increased by only about ten percent.
What are the reasons for the poor vaccination rate in the east??
Here, too, experts see several reasons: structural and political, but also. For example, he said, there are fewer large companies in the eastern states that have Company vaccinations The pandemic could reach thousands of people, but the overall density of vaccination centers and mobile services is lower than in western metropolitan areas.
However, political propaganda against vaccinations also plays a role: Wanderwitz sees a direct connection between comparatively low vaccination rates and the high level of support for the demonstratively vaccine-skeptical AfD in these regions.
He fears that the coming weeks will see a dramatic Reversing the trend "When the school vacations are over in all five new states, the infection figures will almost certainly rise significantly," the CDU politician told our editorial team.
Many here refuse to take protective measures
This is because the number of unvaccinated people is high here compared to the old federal states, but also because the number of people who have not received the vaccine is high Protective measures refused. "I expect that in a few weeks, the incidence rates in the new federal states will be higher than they are now in the old ones. I fear there will be no stopping then and we will have similarly dramatic conditions as last fall."
The Vaccination readiness The number of vaccinated persons in Germany is likely to increase again if the situation deteriorates significantly and stricter measures for the unvaccinated are introduced. "One factor could also be the end of the free tests."Means: Who must pay each time for a fresh test, in order to come into the cinema or restaurant, could consider the thing with the inoculation again.