In Munich, the corona incidence is increasing rapidly, which is not surprising given the Oktoberfest. Hendrik Streeck classifies this and explains why he was also at the Wiesn as a virologist.
Munich – The Wiesn wave is picking up speed every day. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the coronavirus incidence in Munich was 695.8 on Thursday. That means an increase of more than 172 percent within a week. One person who was not caught when he surprisingly appeared at the Oktoberfest is the Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck. “I was at the opening because I was already in Munich on business and was invited. I like the warmth at the Oktoberfest. I was in the tent for a short time. I had thought about that beforehand, because of course there is a higher risk of infection here. But I think this is justifiable and also responsible.”
Streeck does not belong to any risk group, according to his own statement “tested himself before and after, and also wore more masks the days after. Being considerate is simply part of it,” said the 45-year-old in an interview with the Munich newspaper IPPEN.MEDIA .
Virologist Streeck at the Oktoberfest: “Many glasses are definitely not washed perfectly”
He is not surprised that the corona numbers in Munich are increasing rapidly. “People celebrate crowded together in the beer tent. With alcohol, the distance decreases more and more.” Transmissions through washing-up water might also occur. “Many glasses are definitely not washed perfectly,” says Streeck, who advises keeping an eye on this. Munich scientists are already checking to what extent the increase in infections is reflected in the wastewater. You can be curious about the results after the Wiesn.
Equally relevant will be the observation of how Munich clinics fill up with corona patients. According to Streeck, this can be seen with a one or two week delay to the Oktoberfest. In contrast to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, he still considers the form of the largest folk festival in the world to be “responsible”. Lauterbach had grumbled: “The Oktoberfest would have been safer with tests before admission and no less beautiful. At the prices per measure, the tests would have been affordable. Now, as a result, more severe cases and long-Covid cases will have to be treated.”
Streeck counters Lauterbach’s Oktoberfest criticism
Would more testing really have helped? “The antigen tests are often delayed. In the initial phase of the infection, they are usually negative, although one already feels ill. As a result, people who have symptoms but believe they are not infected could also go to the Wiesn.” Streeck’s urgent advice: “Stay at home if you feel sick. That could be Corona, but also the flu. That can have a bigger effect than testing en masse.”
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Lauterbach’s long-Covid fear is criticized by the Bonn native: “I don’t think it’s expedient to warn in general. But I can only advise everyone to get vaccinated, also to avoid secondary diseases. A quadruple vaccination is recommended for risk groups. This gives you good protection against a difficult course.”
The virologist does not want to predict how big the Oktoberfest wave will be and what consequences it will have for Germany (the incidence is now 409.9 nationwide) or Europe after guests from all over the world have visited Munich. However, one will see that “due to seasonality alone, the number of cases will increase everywhere in the coming weeks,” said Streeck. The possible winter variants will probably also contribute to this, above all the BA.2.75.2. Because Sars-CoV-2 does not stop mutating. “Vaccination does not fail completely with the new variants, but we will see a clear increase in immune escape. What remains important is that we shouldn’t panic about the incidences, but concentrate on the utilization of the clinics,” advises Streeck.