NewsCorona-PK: Lauterbach smiles because of "provocative question"

Corona-PK: Lauterbach smiles because of "provocative question"

Omicron spreads in Germany. Karl Lauterbach, Lothar Wieler and Christian Drosten explain the current corona situation in a press conference.

  • How is Germany reacting to the increasing number of cases* in the Corona crisis*?
  • Expert trio: Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach* (SPD*), RKI boss Lothar Wieler and virologist Christian Drosten* are answering questions from the press today.
  • Above all, the fast-spreading omicron variant* occupies the expert council of Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz*.
  • Follow the press conference on the Corona situation in our live ticker.

The number of infections in Germany is increasing. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, RKI President Lothar Wieler and Charité virologist Christian Drosten answered questions from the press on Friday afternoon and commented on the current corona situation. When asked a “provocative question”, Lauterbach responded with a smile (see update from 1:50 p.m.). Here is an overview of the most important points of the press conference:

  • The Corona wave is to be brought under control with the help of the booster campaign. Omicron will soon be the dominant virus variant.
  • About one percent of the population in Germany is actively infected with Corona.
  • “I warn against accepting an infection,” says Karl Lauterbach. “We would have too many victims.”
  • The omicron variant is said to have a milder course, but many data and studies from other countries cannot simply be transferred to Germany. Omikron is also dangerous for many people.
  • “We don’t know at the moment whether we can let the virus run in Germany,” says Christian Drosten.
  • The corona vaccination gap in Germany for people over 60 is still too large.
  • Medical staff should be prioritized for PCR tests, which are becoming scarcer with the increasing number of corona cases and new quarantine rules. Many health authorities and laboratories are overloaded.
  • Karl Lauterbach is clearly in favor of compulsory corona vaccination. However, the aim is not to look down on those who oppose or refuse to vaccinate. The obligation to vaccinate is about saving lives, explained Wieler.
  • The current corona measures are working, says Drosten. You can see that with regard to the doubling time, which is comparatively slow in Germany.
  • “We have to get better at enforcing” the rules, says Karl Lauterbach.
  • There is currently no reason to tighten or relax the corona rules.
  • On February 21, 1.75 million doses of dead corona vaccine are to be delivered
  • Drosten, Wieler and Lauterbach once again appeal to be vaccinated against Corona. The vaccination does not protect 100 percent against infection, but against a severe course of Covid-19.

Here is the press conference on the Corona situation from Friday, January 14th, 2022:

+++ 2:22 p.m .: The press conference with Karl Lauterbach, Christian Drosten and Lothar Wieler is over.

+++ 2:19 p.m .: Karl Lauterbach announces that the first 1.75 million doses of dead vaccine will be delivered on February 21. “I assume that he will also vaccinate well at Omikron,” he says. “The vaccine will help us, we will also recommend it.”

+++ 2.14 p.m .: Charité virologist Christian Drosten explains why it is important not to give up the corona measures. It makes “a difference whether you get infected with a mask or without, because the viral load is completely different”. There is also a very steep increase in incidence. “It’s not really important now whether the infected are terminally ill,” he says. Medical care must be guaranteed. Boosters would have a significantly lower risk of becoming infected and falling ill.

+++ 2:12 p.m .: Lauterbach believes that tough measures against those who refuse to vaccinate, such as fines, would only harden the fronts. It’s not about badmouthing the unvaccinated. Lothar Wieler reports that around five percent of people in Germany do not want to be vaccinated. However, he does not have exact figures.

+++ 2:07 p.m .: Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach once again thanks the doctors who are driving the booster campaign significantly. “This is unique in Europe,” he says. We will continue that too.

+++ 2:04 p.m .: “Ema does not want to decide on Biontech’s Omicron vaccine until May. Is that problematic? What happens to the old cans?” asks a journalist. According to Lauterbach, it was contractually agreed that you would get the vaccine if there were variants. You accompany the planning of the European Medicines Agency. “Of course we want Ema to decide quickly.”

+++ 1:59 p.m .: Christian Drosten is asked whether the current corona measures are sufficient. The virologist shows that the doubling time in Germany is significantly slower than in other countries, also thanks to the rules. “It doesn’t come out of nowhere.” However, the R value must be pressed again. It has been over 1 again for a long time. The start of school after the Christmas holidays could be a sticking point. The number of infections could rise again.

Bundesgesundheitsminister Karl Lauterbach informiert in Berlin über die Corona-Lage.

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Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach provides information on the corona situation in Berlin.

+++ 1:55 p.m .: “What we are trying to do is flatten the wall so that the supply is not endangered,” says Lauterbach with regard to the lack of care. The minister wants the care bonus to be passed as soon as possible.

+++ 1.50 p.m .: A journalist asks why Lauterbach, as a member of the Bundestag, is clearly in favor of compulsory vaccination, but not as Minister of Health. “Where is your leadership strength, Mr. Lauterbach?” A smirking murmur goes through the federal press conference. Lauterbach grins. “A provocative question.” But he does not lack leadership. The SPD politician says it is about the members of parliament from the middle of the Bundestag now working out the proposals. As a member of parliament, he was clearly in favor of compulsory vaccination from the age of 18. Omikron is not the last corona variant – and for the unvaccinated, Omikron is not harmless. “Our children are also giving up a lot at the moment to protect the unvaccinated,” he says.

+++ 1.45 p.m .: Now it’s about the subject of compulsory vaccination. Wieler explains that he has the impression that most of those who have not been vaccinated so far will not change their attitude. With a corona vaccination obligation, one would be able to carry out more vaccinations, Wieler points out. This way you will have more healthy people and save more lives. Should this happen with compulsory vaccination, this would be the right way. Christian Drosten also wants the vaccination gap to be closed as soon as possible.

+++ 1.40 p.m .: “We don’t currently have a PCR shortage,” says Karl Lauterbach about corona tests. However, the system is busy. Medical staff should be prioritized for PCR tests.

PK Live: Lauterbach, Drosten and Wieler call for more “enforcement” of corona rules

+++ 1:37 p.m .: Common measures such as masks and regular ventilation also play a major role in the Omicron variant in schools, says Karl Lauterbach. He is asked about the current corona situation in children. He sees no reason for school closures. However, the data situation for children is confusing. Lothar Wieler shares this view. The applicable measures and recommended guidelines would also have to be implemented.

+++ 1.33 p.m .: Now the journalists present ask their questions to Lauterbach, Wieler and Drosten. The Minister of Health sees no reason to relax the corona rules. 2G-Plus must be implemented or controlled to a greater extent.

+++ 1:29 p.m .: You will need double immunity: once through the first vaccination campaign against Delta – and against Omicron, since a new serotype is forming here. For the omicron variant, you will have to be vaccinated again with an adapted vaccine. He also appeals to those who are undecided to get the corona vaccination. Vaccination slows down the virus.

Corona-PK with Christian Drosten: “We’re flying a bit blind there”

+++ 1:26 p.m .: Drosten explains that the Omicron virus variant could currently be a bit more controllable. “The virus is not stronger in itself.” The virologist assumes that the endemic situation will occur sometime this year. The corona virus would then no longer be so dangerous.

+++ 1:24 p.m .: “At the moment we don’t know whether we can afford immunization from the virus even in Germany,” says Drosten. “We’re flying a bit blind.” He speaks of “difficult double messages” that are currently being conveyed.

+++ 1:19 p.m .: Now the virologist Christian Drosten speaks. “A lot of things are misunderstood at the moment,” he says. It is good that Omikron is probably taking a milder course, but the number of cases is still too high. There are far too many unvaccinated people over 60.

+++ 1:18 p.m .: The RKI President appeals again to be vaccinated. Of course, a vaccination does not protect 100 percent against a corona infection, but it can prevent serious illnesses. The majority of patients in the intensive care units are unvaccinated. You owe it to the medical staff in the hospitals.

Virologe Christian Drosten, RKI-Chef Lothar Wieler und Gesundheitsminister Karl Lauterbach auf der ersten gemeinsamen Corona-PK.

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Virologist Christian Drosten, RKI boss Lothar Wieler and Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach at the first joint Corona PK.

+++ 1:15 p.m .: “We know that older people will be increasingly affected,” says Wieler. The number of deaths is currently falling, “but that will change again”. The hospitalization rate will also increase.

+++ 1:14 p.m .: Lothar Wieler assumes that Omikron will soon displace the Delta variant and the number of cases will increase significantly. About one percent of the population, 800,000 people, is actively infected. The number of hospital admissions and deaths will also increase. Exactly these numbers are decisive in the further course of the pandemic. According to Wieler, the number of infections via the registration data would be recorded less well in the future. Many laboratories and health authorities are overloaded. Accordingly, contact tracing hardly works.

Corona-PK Live: Lauterbach warns against “accepting contagion”

+++ 1:07 p.m .: Data intended to show that the Omicron variant is less dangerous cannot be entirely transferred to Germany, says Lauterbach. In Germany, for example, there is a high proportion of older people who have not been vaccinated. He warns that in this country one accepts a contamination. You would see too many victims. He announces that the hospitals and laboratories will reach their limits because of Omikron. The pandemic is now “in difficult waters” in Germany. Since taking office, Lauterbach has purchased 55 million doses of booster vaccine.

+++ 1:05 p.m .: As expected, Omikron will soon become the dominant virus variant in Germany. The measures that Germany took weeks ago to contain Omicron should work in such a way that the wave of infection is flattened. The rules have already worked.

+++ 1:02 p.m .: The press conference with Lauterbach, Wieler and Drosten begins. The Federal Minister of Health thanks the Charité virologist for his support and presence.

Corona-PK Live: Lauterbach, Wieler and Drosten comment on the situation

+++ 12.54 p.m .: In a few minutes, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, RKI President Lothar Wieler and Charité virologist Christian Drosten will comment together on the corona situation in Germany. At the press conferences last year, only the Minister of Health and the head of the RKI were present. The fact that Christian Drosten, who is a member of the Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council, is rather unusual. The PK should also be about the new Corona rules, which have now gone through the Federal Council.

Update from 11.40 a.m .: The new quarantine rules for corona infected people and contact persons can come into force. After the Bundestag, the Bundesrat has now also approved a regulation that creates a legal framework for this. Among other things, the regulation stipulates that triple-vaccinated contact persons of corona infected people no longer have to go into quarantine. In addition, this enables shorter quarantine times in the event of infections in order to prevent a collapse in personnel in important care areas when the number of infections increases sharply.

In the special session of the state chamber, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said that the pandemic had arrived at an “interface”*. In this third year of Corona, the question arises as to whether it will be possible to defuse the pandemic in such a way that an endemic situation with only sporadic outbreaks and few deaths is reached – or whether this opportunity will be missed. “We must seize this opportunity and we have the means to do so. We have the means to largely end the pandemic in Germany this year.”

At 1 p.m. Karl Lauterbach, Christian Drosten and Lothar Wieler want to comment on the current situation and the new Corona rules at a joint press conference.

Lauterbach, Wieler and Drosten give joint Corona PK

First report from Friday, January 14th, 2022, 10:26 a.m.: Berlin – The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly in Germany. It now accounts for 73 percent of new infections, according to an RKI report with data from the first calendar week of 2022. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) therefore wants to give an up-to-date assessment of the increasing spread of the variant today. RKI boss Lothar Wieler and virologist Christian Drosten should also be there.

In addition to Omikron, other topics at the press conference are likely to be new quarantine rules, the discussion about compulsory vaccination, Stiko’s booster recommendation for children aged 12 and over and the situation in the health authorities. The federal and state governments had agreed on new quarantine rules, and the Bundestag passed a regulation on Thursday evening (01/13/2022). It stipulates, for example, that people with a booster vaccination are exempt from quarantine as contact persons for infected people. In general, quarantine and isolation times should be shortened. The Federal Council is meeting this Friday to finally deal with the rules.

Press conference with Lauterbach, Wieler and Drosten: Vaccination could also become an issue

Health Minister Lauterbach campaigned again on Thursday for the introduction of a general corona vaccination requirement. This is “the safest and fastest way out of the pandemic.” In the long term, this is only possible “if the vast majority of the population is vaccinated in such a way that severe courses can no longer be expected, even with new variants of the corona virus.” Because it has to dangerous and particularly contagious variants can also be expected in the future. Therefore, compulsory vaccination should be introduced – thoroughly, but in such a way that a fourth pandemic year does not have to be opened like it is now.

Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the Federal Association of Physicians in the Public Health Service, Ute Teichert, complained about the situation in the health authorities due to a lack of staff. “Many health authorities have therefore restricted contact tracing. You can only take care of larger outbreaks, for example in nursing homes, ”she told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Friday). “If the number of infections continues to rise, it will be difficult for the health authorities to enter the data on a daily basis.” If the staff is not significantly increased at short notice, there will be no clear overview of the pandemic in the next few weeks.

Virologist: The best way out of the pandemic would be if the vaccinated become infected

Because of the bottlenecks in German laboratories when evaluating PCR tests, politicians called for rules on who should be able to do such a test with priority. The health expert of the Union faction in the Bundestag, Tino Sorge (CDU), told the newspaper Welt: “As long as there is a risk of overload, the existing capacities must be used primarily according to urgency and medical needs.” submit tests. The chairman of the Association of German Laboratory Doctors, Andreas Bobrowski, said: “The test laboratories in northern Germany are already at the limit and it is a matter of time before everyone in the country has reached this mark.”

According to virologist Klaus Stöhr, tracking the contacts of infected people is no longer appropriate. “In terms of incidence, the health authorities can no longer cope,” he said in a podcast of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and the editorial network Germany. He added: “If a large part of the population is mildly and asymptomatically infected and has antibodies, a so-called contact tracking quarantine becomes pointless.” According to Stöhr, the best way out of the pandemic would be if the vaccinated became infected. “There will then be long-lasting immune protection in the package.” (ial/dpa) *fr.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

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