Drosten warns against too early infection

Berlin (dpa) – In view of the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the corona virus, virologist Christian Drosten warns of early infection in Germany.

According to the current state of knowledge, the variant of the virus is milder, but because there are too many cases, this gain is “again wiped out”, said the scientist from Charité Berlin in Berlin. There are still far too many unvaccinated people in Germany, especially in the over 60 age group. Many people have not yet received a booster shot, but this is the most effective way in the fight against Omikron, so Drosten.

Drosten: “Difficult double messages”

The virologist referred to several “difficult double messages” in the current discussion. It is considered certain that the virus itself will have to “update” the population’s immunity again and again and “run” at some point. “But we don’t know at the moment whether we can afford it in Germany given the vaccine pick-up,” Drosten warned. “We are a bit blind here.”

He assumed that the endemic situation would be largely reached by the end of the year. He promised that the Omikron variant would probably have to be readjusted during vaccination. “It will require appropriate vaccination, and then we may have to provide a large part of the population, perhaps even everyone, with an updated vaccination against Omicron from the second trimester.” Drosten reiterated his call for unvaccinated people to get vaccinated urgently.

Lauterbach: slowing down the wave

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach expects the number of corona infections to rise even more, but is counting on containment through new daily restrictions and more vaccinations. The strategy is to slow and stretch the omicron wave and stimulate as many people as possible with booster vaccinations during this period, the SPD politician told a press conference.

The pandemic is now “in difficult waters” in Germany. More infected people would have to be treated and hospitals would be more stressed. At the same time, the restrictions already in place have had an effect – for example, with a longer doubling time for the number of infections. In addition, there are now even stricter access rules for those vaccinated and recovered with additional tests (2G plus) in the restoration.

The goal now is “to make a hill on the otherwise expected steep wall of infection rates, if possible, or that the wall isn’t that high,” Lauterbach said. But it is a particular problem in Germany that there are many unvaccinated people in the particularly vulnerable group of the elderly.

For now, Lauterbach sees no reason to tighten further. From his point of view, “the right package of measures is in place at the moment”, he said. However, if the number of cases should increase significantly and an overload of medical care is to be expected, other measures must also be counteracted. “We are not at that point.”

Wieler: “New phase of the pandemic”

According to the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, Germany is entering a “new phase of the pandemic”. “The pure number of cases will be less decisive. More important is the number of people who become seriously ill with Covid-19 and how overloaded the health system will be then,” Wieler said.

He also warned, however, that while Omikron infections were milder overall, “due to the mass of infections, we unfortunately have to be prepared for the fact that the number of hospitalizations and deaths will naturally increase again.” .

Wieler again called on the population to get vaccinated and boosted. “Vaccines don’t necessarily prevent infection, it’s true. But they are the best protection against serious diseases.” Vaccinations would help avoid overburdening the health system and all other social systems.

The RKI gave the number of new corona infections on Friday morning at 92,223 – a new record. The seven-day incidence also peaked at 470.6. In addition, another 286 deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours.

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