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Infestation air: “Omicron will rush through with or without lockdown”

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Infestation air:

In the case of a “targeted infection with the handbrake on”, that is, taking into account banal and efficient preventive measures, he sees a real chance of the longed-for return to normality, said Weiss. This scenario is currently taking place across Europe, according to Weiss. The infection with the much milder but more contagious omicron variant is a “dynamic process that is now happening” and will probably peak in about two weeks and then level off again. You can no longer influence this significantly: “It will be like this whether you want it or not”. Therefore, even lockdown measures would not bring anything that he does not consider sensible and effective in this phase: “The Omicron train is on track. And it will rush through with or without lockdown,” emphasized the renowned doctor, who is also on the advisory board in the Ministry of Health attached. Weiss also recalled the situation in other countries where the situation is similar to the same – regardless of lockdown-like measures.

chance of normality

As a result of the contagion, combined with the vaccination, there will be “high immunity in the population” and hopefully or probably it will also be possible to get out of the “pandemic” and have a “normal summer”. “And with that we will hopefully move from a pandemic to an epidemiological situation in which we will be confronted with the virus again in the cold season,” Weiss saw a similar scenario to other viruses with which one has also learned to live. Then it will always be important that as many older people and risk patients as possible get vaccinated. Of course there are always imponderables, you can’t predict anything exactly. We have learned this over the past two years, says Weiss. In this regard, he agrees with Karl Valentin, who once aptly said: “Predictions are always very difficult, especially when they concern the future”.

Weiss advocates common sense

With this “infection with the handbrake on” it is also important to ensure that “not too many cases occur at once, so that there is no problem with medical care”. To do this, you simply have to comply with the prescribed hygiene measures, Weiss pleaded for common sense. Based on the current status and on the basis of experience in other countries, the infectiologist did not see an unmanageable, but definitely a challenging situation for the health system. The previous Omicron wave has shown that – in contrast to previous waves – the utilization in intensive care and normal wards does not increase to the same extent with the increasing number of infections. Although he expects that the occupancy will also increase somewhat here in the short term, there is currently reason for slight optimism, although caution is still required and it will only be possible to say in about two weeks how the omicron wave will be reflected in hospitalizations.

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Vaccination “last and drastic option”

There are currently “marginally” more corona patients in the hospitals, but those with an omicron would only make up a relatively small proportion. On the one hand, this is due to the less severe courses, which apparently go hand in hand with a different type of symptomatology (cold and runny nose symptoms). In addition, there is apparently “good background immunity” due to the vaccinations and infections that have occurred in earlier waves. “The last point that will help in coping with the omicron wave is the promotion of booster vaccination, which has built up the desired protection in older and at-risk patients. As a result, they do not become so seriously ill with an omicron infection and do not have to go to the hospital treated,” explained Weiss. For him, compulsory vaccination is the “last and most drastic option” to get closer to the goal of increasing the vaccination rate and, subsequently, in particular to the goal of preventing more serious illnesses and deaths. “The pros and cons must also be carefully weighed up and communicated with regard to the dynamics of the development of the pandemic in order to prevent massive and lasting divisions and rifts in the population,” warned the expert.

Sharp criticism of test strategy

A thorn in Weiss’ side is what he considers to be excessive and untargeted testing in Austria. Austria tests around ten times as much as Germany and Switzerland – but has the same number of infections and hospitalization rates or deaths as these countries in relation to the population. “This untargeted testing is actually of little use in combating the pandemic. We spend billions without really having any health benefit. At some point it has to be done away with.” On the contrary – people would feel a false sense of security with negative test certificates and would forgo the basic rules of hygiene. Tests are snapshots with a very short validity period and testing should therefore be carried out in a targeted and symptom-based manner on the basis of a “medical indication” or as part of contact tracing or in critical infrastructural areas. It is not necessary, for example, for a person who has been vaccinated three times and wears a mask to also have to show a PCR test for an event, Weiss criticized: “It would be better to make sure that people wear the masks correctly, observe hand hygiene and distance rules “.



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