A.Us Poland, where the first wave of the pandemic was relatively mild, has now reported many new infections and an unusual increase in deaths. On Thursday, Poland’s Ministry of Health announced that 124 people had died of the coronavirus and a further 513 “due to the interaction of Covid-19 with other diseases” on Wednesday. The number of 637 deaths is a new record; 23,975 people were newly infected on Wednesday. The positive rate has developed particularly unfavorably: on Wednesday a good 58,000 people were tested, which means that around 40 percent of the people tested were actually infected. The test practice in Poland is comparatively restrictive.
Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.
The figures presented by the analyst Kamil Pastor are even worse. Pastor wrote, referring to the Polish and EU statistical authorities, that in all 16 voivodeships (districts) of Poland there was an unusual increase in deaths in the last week of October. While there has been an average of about 7,800 deaths per week over the years, the figure was 14,115 that week. Even after deducting the official corona deaths, there is an overhang of around 4970 deaths.
Above all, these are likely to be undeclared corona victims, possibly also people who have died of other diseases and could not be saved due to the overload of the health care system. Relative to the population, Poland had two to three times as many new corona infections as Germany in the past few weeks, according to official figures. According to the Ministry of Health, 2080 of 2888 ventilators for corona patients are now occupied. It looks better with the beds for corona patients, of which 22,536 of 37,348 are occupied. Many cities set up emergency hospitals.
Steinmeier’s letter and Duda’s answer
The Polish government is trying to give the impression that the situation is under control. That was also the answer when Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote to his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, who had Covid-19, at the end of October: “Please let me know if there are things we can do for Poland in the current situation.” Duda , recovered a little later, thanked him in a letter for this “gesture of solidarity” and assured that “if the need arises, Poland is ready to work closely with Germany to combat the effects of the pandemic”. Conversely, Germany could count on Poland. So far Poland can cope alone, was the message repeated several times by government politicians.
When the situation worsened, a member of the national conservative ruling party PiS spoke up. Joanna Lichocka demanded that the German federal states should delegate Polish doctors who work in Germany “to Poland for the time of the pandemic”. Employers should give them unpaid leave in return. The doctor Bogdan Milek, chairman of the Polish Medical Society in Germany, answered this directly to PiS boss Jaroslaw Kaczynski: He and thousands of his colleagues had gone to Germany because of better training and working conditions, where the “freedom of the individual” was greater.