Eine Intensivfachpflegerin betreut auf der Intensivstation des Gemeinschaftskrankenhauses Havelhöhe einen Covid-19-Patienten. +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

There are hardly any corona rules in public space, many measures are voluntary. Politicians justify this on the one hand with the high number of vaccine doses administered – more than 51 million people in Germany have received a booster vaccination so far – at the same time the omicron variant of the corona virus is considered harmless compared to its predecessors.

Self-government, telematics, Morbi-RSA: The briefing on health

However, if you look at the absolute deaths in July over the past three years, a different picture emerges: while 135 people died as a result of Covid 19 disease in the first year of the corona pandemic, the number rose to 274 last year In July 2022, the statistics took another leap: 3,028 people died in the past month. This emerges from the data of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

In the current weekly report, the RKI writes: “In the fifth wave, despite the mostly comparatively mild course of the disease, there was an increase in deaths due to the high number of infections.”

So isn’t the omicron variant as harmless as is generally believed? If you put the number of deaths in relation to the reported infected people, a completely different picture emerges. In the first year of Corona, the test capacities were not as extensive, but the health authorities reported 14,743 newly infected people in July 2020. Two years later, with significantly increased capacities, the authorities reported more than 180 times as many cases – 2,658,725 – to the RKI.

In percentage terms, significantly fewer people died of Covid-19 in July 2022 than in the same month of 2020, namely only around 20 times as many. If the percentage of dying remained the same, Germany would have had 24,460 corona deaths last month.

The Federal Statistical Office estimates that a total of 85,285 people died in July 2022. “As in June, the number of deaths increased, especially in phases of very high temperatures,” says a press release. Overall, the number of deaths in July 2022 was 12 percent above the average value of previous years.

In July 2020, it was mainly the 20 to 34 year olds who were infected, according to data from the RKI, which in July 2022 mainly infected the 50 to 59 year old age group. Most corona deaths in July 2020 were reported among 80 to 89 year olds (34). In July 2022, too, most people died in this age group. With 1255, however, it is significantly more than two years ago.

However, among the deceased there were also many people who were suffering from the omicron variant but died for other reasons, says Christian Karagiannidis, a member of the Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council and intensive care physician, at the request of the Tagesspiegel. Work is currently underway to better differentiate the circumstances of death. “Nevertheless, many die of omicrons, especially the elderly and very old and immunosuppressed.”

Similar increases in the number of deaths can be seen in other countries. Great Britain, for example, reported 693 deaths to the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2020. In the comparison month 2022 there were 4687 deaths as a result of Covid 19 disease. Italy and Spain, countries that were hit particularly hard by the first corona wave, also reported significantly higher numbers to the WHO in July 2022 (Italy: 3709, Spain: 2497) than in the summer month of 2020 (Italy: 388, Spain: 185 ).

Karagiannidis advises high-risk groups in particular to have the fourth vaccination. Particularly vulnerable patients should also be treated with antiviral drugs as early as possible. “It will lower the death toll.”