How is the world changing

Corona pandemic: how a virus changed the world

On December 30, a Chinese ophthalmologist officially informed the authorities in Wuhan for the first time about a virus that is causing a new type of lung disease. The diseases are apparently related to a wildlife market in Wuhan. The WHO found out about the disease a day later, according to its own information from the media. Four days later, she went public with the information.

It was only months later that there were indications that the virus had been around China for much longer, perhaps since summer 2019. It could have spread undetected in Europe as early as autumn.

January 2020 - The Corona situation is calm

The coronavirus spreads across the world within a few weeks, and many individual cases are counted. The virus reached Europe on January 24th, and three cases from France became known. At this point in time, Bavaria assessed the risk of infection with the coronavirus as "low". But three days later: The first Corona case in Germany, in Bavaria, on January 27th. During a meeting, an employee of the automotive supplier Webasto got infected with a Chinese colleague. He was isolated, he stayed in the hospital for two weeks, and then he was discharged healthy. The first case of Covid-19 is a media event in Germany.

February 2020 - The virus gets a name

WHO is increasingly concerned about how quickly and how widely the virus is spreading around the world. On February 11th it got its name: SARS-CoV-2, SARS stands for "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome". The disease: Covid-19, corona virus disease 2019, coronavirus disease.

The Robert Koch Institute continues to see the risk of contracting the new virus in Germany as low. So far only 16 people are infected and isolated. In France, meanwhile, the first European dies of Covid-19 and Bergamo in Italy is developing into a corona hotspot. On February 23, the Italian government cordoned off the cities in the north. Germany is also getting its first hotspot: after a carnival celebration in Heinsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, numerous people will be infected from February 27th. The Johns Hopkins University now has 27 corona cases in Germany.

There is good news from research. Resources are being pooled around the world, and drug and vaccine research is getting underway, also in Germany and Bavaria.

March 2020 - It's getting tricky

In Germany, the first person dies of Covid-19 on March 9, he comes from the Corona hotspot Heinsberg. 1,000 people in Germany have now tested positive for the virus. The spread is getting faster and faster. This is also due to the so-called "superspreading" events, made famous by the ski vacationers in Ischgl, Austria.

Data experts can later prove that thousands of vacationers spread the virus across Europe in the days and weeks that followed. Bavaria remains a hotspot throughout Germany, probably also due to its proximity to Austria.

On March 11, the WHO declared the epidemic a global pandemic. Events are canceled in Germany, schools and daycare centers are closed. On March 22nd, the nationwide ban on contact, also known as shutdown or lockdown, comes into force. The aim is to slow the spread of the virus so that hospitals and health authorities are not overloaded, and risk groups are protected. The lockdown lasts until the end of April and is successful. But social distance also has an impact on people's psychological wellbeing.

April 2020 - Masks in Germany

At the beginning of the pandemic, experts thought that the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen would mainly spread via surfaces and large saliva particles. Washing hands and keeping a distance of 1.5 meters appeared to be an important means of stopping the spread. It is now becoming clear that the smallest particles that arise when you breathe out, speak or sing, and which can sometimes float in the air for hours, are the real drivers of the pandemic: aerosols. Therefore, on April 20, a mask requirement comes into force in Germany, which, among other things, is intended to prevent such aerosols from forming. In addition, regular ventilation in closed rooms is discussed.

May 2020 - The first drugs are approved

Treating Covid-19 is a challenge for doctors primarily because there are no drugs that specifically target the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. This way they can only treat the symptoms of the sick and hope that the immune system can deal with the virus on its own. That seems to change on May 1st: The Ebola drug Remdesivir receives approval in the USA. By the end of the year, however, it is still not clear whether it can actually have a positive effect on the course of Covid-19 and, if so, at what point in time it should be used most sensibly.

In addition, the researchers are learning more and more about the disease and how the immune system fights with the virus. What started out as a "mysterious lung disease" seems to affect many more organs and cause inflammation throughout the body. The kidney, heart, liver, and brain can be affected. In addition, many retain with long-term effects, which are grouped on social media under the hashtag #LongCovid.

June 2020 - Smoldering spread over the summer

Another promising drug fails research: hydroxychloroquine does not meet expectations. It is not intended to be used in the treatment of sick people, according to the WHO.

In the summer, many people in Germany seem to be looking for a break from Corona, neighboring European countries can be visited on vacation, people meet outside. Nevertheless, the virus continues to smolder. There are even bigger events locally, for example in slaughterhouses or among seasonal workers.

In the meantime, 10 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, and almost half a million have died from it.

July 2020 - Promising vaccine candidates

The corona pandemic shows one thing: if the global community wants it and provides a corresponding amount of money and resources, vaccine research can advance surprisingly quickly. It usually takes years for a vaccine candidate to get their first human tests. Now, around 7 months after the start of the pandemic, two companies can already present successful results that give rise to hope.

Meanwhile, the numbers in Germany are increasing again. Even if it didn't feel like that for many in the summer, the pandemic is far from over. And it remains to be seen whether the freedom and lightness of summer does not have to be paid for with illness and death in autumn and winter.

August 2020 - numbers as in spring

Russia has developed its own vaccine - from August 11 it will be vaccinated across the country. Experts abroad are skeptical whether it is really safe.

The spread of the corona virus continues, worldwide and also in Germany. On August 27, the Robert Koch Institute counts high case numbers again, the situation is comparable to the spring.

September 2020 - Contagions cause concern

The numbers in Germany continue to rise, on September 18, the city of Munich becomes the first German metropolis to exceed the mark of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within 7 days. The more people test positive, the harder it is for health authorities to track down contacts. There are also more and more sick people in the Bavarian districts.

On September 26, the health authorities reported 2,300 corona cases in one day, the last time there was at the end of April. The "second wave" started earlier than expected for many.

October 2020 - The schools will remain open this time

Schools and daycare centers were closed for weeks in the spring, and teaching was more or less successful from home. That should now be different in the new school year. In order to reduce the risk of infection in classrooms, ventilation should be carried out frequently, even in the winter months. The German Association of Philologists advises young people to dress warmly.

On October 18, the Johns Hopkins University counted more than 40 million Covid-19 cases worldwide, more than 1.1 million died in connection with SARS-CoV-2. In Germany, four days later, the RKI counts more than 20,000 new infections for the first time, in Europe over 250,000 deaths are counted.

November 2020 - Partial lockdown and vaccines

Germany has been in partial lockdown, or "lockdown light", since November 2nd. The most important goal: the schools and daycare centers should remain open. Nevertheless, around 300,000 schoolchildren will go into quarantine every week in November due to Corona.

Good news comes on November 9th: the mRNA vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer in Germany is over 90 percent effective, according to the company. On November 16, the US company Moderna can also announce a success. His mRNA vaccine is similarly effective. And on November 23, it is certain that the vaccine from Great Britain, from AstraZeneca, will also help. It's a vector vaccine.

On November 30th, Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna apply for approval in the EU. This could be available by the end of December.

December 2020 - First vaccinations in the UK

Great Britain succeeds in the coup: The country is the first to approve the vaccine from the German company Biontech / Pfizer worldwide. The largest vaccination campaign in the island's history begins on December 8th, with a 90-year-old woman being the first to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the federal government recommends that citizens voluntarily quarantine before visiting their families over Christmas. And Germany is planning a "hard lockdown" for the period after Christmas until at least January 10th. Because the numbers keep increasing. On December 9th, the RKI reported a new maximum number of deaths from Covid-19: 590 people died within one day, more than ever before.

January 2021 - Mutations are spreading

In January, the sigh of relief begins: The corona vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer has been approved in Europe since the end of December. The vaccine from the US company Moderna will also be approved at the beginning of January. From now on, the two new types of mRNA vaccines can be vaccinated in the vaccination centers - if enough vaccination doses are available.

As soon as there is relief in politics and the population due to the start of the vaccination, there is a new setback: The Coronavius ​​mutates, which in itself would not be unusual. But there are at least two variants that are worrying scientists: the British and South African variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They are definitely more contagious, whether or not they are also more dangerous remains to be seen.