Different corona signals at the turn of the year: Omikron could make you seriously ill less often – the rapid spread nevertheless increases the risk for unvaccinated people.
Berlin – The German federal government and also prominent virologists have cautiously expressed their optimism about the possible effects of the Omikron wave in Germany – but at the same time warned of a growing health risk for unvaccinated people. “We have too many unvaccinated people in Germany, just over 60, and they are of course in real danger, so it’s getting really dangerous for them,” said Berlin virologist Christian Drosten on Friday on Deutschlandfunk.
Drosten and Lauterbach share positive Omicron studies – Scholz wants to speed up vaccination
Drosten and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also referred to studies on the somewhat rarer, severe disease courses caused by Omikron. According to the latest weekly report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Omikron share of infections in Germany is increasing rapidly. How high the omicron wave already is, however, is unclear. According to the RKI, the epidemiological situation could be shown less completely between the years.
Very interesting study on Omicron in SA in @TheLancet. Shows that Omicron spread 4 times as fast as Delta, but caused significantly less severe cases. Nevertheless, the data do not allow any clear conclusions to be drawn about older unvaccinated people at https://t.co/s5Mzosyi0v
– Prof. Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) December 30, 2021
Drosten explained that there is probably a somewhat slower omicron growth rate in Germany than in England. In Great Britain there were last 189,000 new corona infections per day, in Germany 41,240. In Great Britain there is a doubling of the omicron cases every two days, in this country about every four days, so Drosten. In his New Year’s address, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said: “Let’s do everything together – but really everything – so that we can finally defeat Corona in the New Year.” “Now it depends on speed. We have to be faster than the virus, ”said Scholz, according to the speech that was spread in advance.
Drosten skeptical whether booster against the omicron wave is enough – hope for fewer intensive care patients
Drosten was skeptical when asked whether Germany could quasi boost itself out of the Omikron wave. “If the rate of spread in Germany is significantly slower and if it is also checked again in January, then that is theoretically conceivable, but I would consider it difficult,” he said.
Hope – but further risk for clinics and infrastructure: The Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck expressed the hope that “we will get a milder wave” on the program “RTL Direkt”. Virologists and government hope that Omikron’s disease severity is very likely to be reduced. The data increased for this, said Drosten. An unvaccinated person with Omicron infection carries three quarters of the risk of hospitalizing an unvaccinated person with Delta. Lauterbach wrote on Twitter about the data from South Africa, which showed “that Omicron spread 4 times as fast as Delta, but caused significantly less severe cases”.
However, the study does not allow any clear conclusions to be drawn about older unvaccinated people. The head of the intensive care register of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Christian Karagiannidis, told the “Rheinische Post”: “The sheer number of new infections that we are currently heading for could pose major challenges for intensive care capacities, but even more so Total hospitalization. “
RKI warns of a sudden increase in infections – Drosten continues to plead for measures
According to the RKI, a sudden increase in infections and an overload of the health system and other areas of care is to be expected. Suggestions for contact restrictions and quarantine: From Drosten’s point of view, it is relatively clear that the known contact restrictions must continue to exist. “I do think that we need control measures,” said Drosten. The next Prime Minister’s Conference on the Corona situation is scheduled for January 7th. Lauterbach had announced proposals for the coming week. It is about what the dynamic increase in Omikron cases means for the contact reductions and the duration of quarantine times.
The President of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, told the newspapers of the Funke media group: “A shortening of the quarantine can prove to be useful.” Quarantine is ordered for contact persons of infected people. Schleswig-Holstein’s Finance Minister Monika Heinold (Greens) demanded that the epidemic situation be re-established as the legal basis for possible stricter restrictions. She joined the position of State Health Minister Heiner Garg (FDP).
Surviving Omicron infection does not mean protection against Corona – Streeck expects a “relaxed summer”
The measured incidence in Germany was currently 214.9 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week. There were 323 corona deaths within 24 hours. Most of the corona rapid tests offered in Germany are meanwhile also suitable for Omicron detection: This can be assumed on the basis of the current data situation, according to the responsible Paul Ehrlich Institute on the Internet. Medium-term perspective: According to Drosten, people without a vaccination are not necessarily protected from corona after surviving an Omikron infection: “We cannot simply rely on those who have not yet been vaccinated and then get Omikron for the first time that they are also protected are against Delta and any predecessor viruses that will co-circulate, ”he said.
Vaccinated people, on the other hand, would have broad protection against the variants after a further vaccination adapted to Omikron. It is expected that vaccines adapted to Omikron will be available in the spring. In his own words, Streeck expects a “relaxed summer”. Drosten said on Thursday evening in the ZDF “heute journal” that an endemic situation was already emerging in South Africa. “Unfortunately, we are still a long way from that.” The transition to an endemic situation means that the virus will spread further, but will be less dangerous. * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA