This is how the coronavirus came to Germany
MUNICH — Here's how a saltshaker helped researchers trace back the first evidence of human to human transmission of COVID-19 on German soil.
According to a report from Euractiv in collaboration with Reuters, Germany's Patient Zero was a Chinese woman working at the Shanghai branch of Webasto Group, a German car parts supplier. The woman's parents visited her from Wuhan before she left for Germany to attend meetings at the company's headquarters.
In order to trace back the origin of the spread, doctors looked into the records of staff meetings and interviewed employees.
Through the information they gathered, they found that the first German person infected by the Chinese woman was sitting next to her during a meeting on January 20.
Evidence showed that the fourth person to be infected, or case #4, had been in regular contact with the Chinese woman. On January 22, case #4 sat back to back with a co-worker at the office canteen, where they shared a salt shaker. Researchers believe this is when the coworker became the fifth person to be infected.
If you're asking yourself, 'How could doctors possibly have recorded the exact moment in which a salt shaker became suspect number one in the spread of the coronavirus?' Don't worry, the doctors themselves are kerfuffled.
Clemens Wendtner, the doctor who treated patients that got infected through this cluster, told Reuters, 'It was a stroke of luck.' Apparently, 'all it took' was gathering information from staff and boom, case closed.
Thankfully, the researchers' quick actions resulted in healthy employees. In a press release published on March 4, Webasto stated that all previously infected employees had been released from the hospitals and some had already gone back to work.
According to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute, the German federal agency in charge of disease control and prevention, there are currently 120,479 COVID-19 cases and 2,673 deaths due to COVID-19 in Germany. Around 60,300 people have recovered from the viral disease.
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