Status: 01/14/2022 2:55 p.m
In view of the often milder course of the disease in the omicron variant, Health Minister Lauterbach warns against the population becoming infected too early. In the future, medical staff should have priority in the PCR tests.
The new corona infections in the past few days have always reached new highs. In view of this, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, the President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler and the virologist Christian Drosten have informed about the current situation. The strategy is to slow down and stretch the omicron wave and to boost as many people as possible with booster vaccinations during this time, Lauterbach said in Berlin. The pandemic is now “in difficult waters” in Germany. More people would have to be given injections, and hospitals would be under a greater burden. At the same time, however, there is good news that the current restrictions are working – this is shown, for example, by a longer doubling time for the number of infections.
Omicron spread slower in Germany than elsewhere
According to the SPD politician, Germany does not have the short doubling time for infections that other countries have. The doubling period was around 4.5 days a few weeks ago. Currently moving towards 6.5 days. The health minister said that the anti-corona measures have reduced contacts in Germany to around 50 percent of the “pre-pandemic age”. In addition, there are now even stricter access rules for vaccinated and recovered people with additional tests in the catering trade. The goal now is “to make a hill out of the otherwise expected steep wall of infection numbers or that the wall is not so high”. The Federal Council had previously cleared the way for the new quarantine rules, which must now be implemented by the federal states. This also includes the fact that in important economic and supply areas in the event of an infection or as a contact person, a “free test” is possible after seven days using a PCR or certified rapid antigen test.
Medical staff give priority to PCR tests
According to Lauterbach, medical staff should have priority in the necessary PCR tests. He had arranged for the free testing of employees from the medical field with a PCR test “to be prioritized in the laboratories”. This should ensure that these employees get the PCR test “when capacities are exhausted or overloaded”. Due to the rapidly increasing number of infections, staff shortages are expected, which should be avoided as far as possible, especially in areas of critical infrastructure such as healthcare. Lauterbach currently considers the anti-corona measures to be sufficient. However, he is concerned that the agreed 2G Plus regulation will not be implemented everywhere and that, in his opinion, the controls will not be sufficient. “Loosening can be ruled out at the moment,” adds the SPD politician. If the number of cases should increase significantly and an overload of medical care is to be expected, “then other countermeasures must of course be taken”.
Health Minister Lauterbach and RKI boss Wieler comment on the current infection situation
Kerstin Breinig, RBB, daily news at 8:00 p.m., January 14, 2022
Nearly three million over the age of 60 have not yet been vaccinated
It is also a special problem in Germany that there are many unvaccinated people in the particularly vulnerable group of older people. According to the virologist Christian Drosten, three million people over the age of 60 have not yet been vaccinated, almost nine million have not been boosted and are therefore not fully protected against the omicron variant. That is why he warns against relying on an infection of the population in Germany due to the often milder course of the omicron variant. But at some point you have to “let the virus run” because you can’t keep vaccinating the population, said Drosten. Lauterbach also warned against the idea that “in Germany we can accept a contagion”. Findings about the danger of the corona virus variant cannot be transferred one-to-one to Germany because the rate of unvaccinated people among the elderly is particularly high, according to the SPD politician. “The number of victims that we would then have to mourn is uncertain and is certainly too high.”
Wieler: Omikron will displace Delta in a few days
According to the President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, Omikron will have completely replaced the delta variant in new infections in a few days. Due to the mass of infections, one has to be prepared for the fact that the number of hospital admissions and deaths will increase again, says Wieler. So far, the deaths have not increased again: “But that will change.” Wieler announced that the testing strategy will change in the coming months. Similar to Lauterbach, he no longer sees any great need to laboriously prove the spread of the now dominant omicron variant. You can therefore save on certain PCR tests and concentrate them where they are particularly needed. If the situation becomes endemic and the virus causes less serious illnesses, you will have to test less anyway, said Wieler.
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