German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warns of a high number of deaths and massive restrictions in hospital treatments in the current Corona wave with the highly contagious Omicron variant. "We are facing very difficult weeks in Germany," the SPD politician told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "We must not lull ourselves into a sense of security with a view to the currently falling hospital numbers, particularly in intensive care units."
The situation in the clinics will worsen again, he said. At the moment, he said, it's mainly the younger people who are getting sick and have a lot of contacts. If the older ones become infected, the number of hospital admissions will rise again, he said. "There may be a shortage, depending on the development, not only in the intensive care units but also in the normal wards. There is a threat of entire departments being closed," Lauterbach said. "A contagion means that hundreds of thousands will become seriously ill and we will again have to mourn many thousands of corona deaths."
Meanwhile, the Robert Koch Institute again reported a high in seven-day incidence nationwide this Sunday morning. According to the report, the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week was 515.7 - and thus for the first time above the threshold of 500. For comparison: the previous day, the value had been 497.1, a week ago 362.7, a month ago 422.3.
Health offices reported 52,504 new Corona infections to the RKI within one day. A week ago, there had been 36,552 infections.
According to the new data, 47 deaths were recorded throughout Germany within 24 hours. The number of people who have died from or with the involvement of a proven infection with the virus Sars-CoV-2 thus rose to 115,619. A week ago, there had been 77 deaths.
The RKI counted 7,965,977 confirmed infections with Sars-CoV-2 since the start of the pandemic, but the actual total is likely much higher because many infections go undetected. The RKI gave the number of those who have recovered as 6,963,700.
The number of Corona patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days had been reported by the RKI on Friday at 3.23 (Thursday: 3.09, Wednesday: 3.13). This was the first time it had risen in several days. It will not be published at the weekend.
According to the German Hospital Association (DKG), hospitals are already feeling the first effects of the Omicron wave through more patient admissions with Covid disease. "We are already seeing this increase in normal wards in some regions, for example in Bremen, Berlin, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein," Gerald Gaß, president of the German Hospital Association, told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. "Unlike previous waves, however, patients are likely to arrive in normal wards in greater numbers in the coming weeks, as the likelihood of having a severe course is lower with Omicron," he explained.
According to Lauterbach, whether the measures currently in place are sufficient will be decided at the next conference of state premiers on January 24. However, he rejects school closures or a lockdown. He prefers a different approach: "For medical reasons, I think it's a good idea to add to the booster incentives. So, that it makes an even bigger difference whether I have the third vaccination or not."
Virologist Christian Drosten sees the milder Omicron variant of the coronavirus as an "opportunity" to get into the endemic state. When asked about this, the virologist told the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag newspaper, "It would be a chance now, assuming broad immunity." Drosten said all people must become infected with Sars-Cov-2 sooner or later. "Yes, we have to get into this rut, there is no alternative," he said. "We can't keep immunizing the entire population every few months via booster vaccination in perpetuity." That's what the virus has to do, he said. "The virus has to spread, but it has to do so precisely on the basis of vaccine protection that is entrenched in the general population" - otherwise "too many people would die."
Drosten also raised hopes in the interview for life as it was before the pandemic. Asked if "we will ever live again as we did before the pandemic," the scientist from Berlin's Charité hospital said, "Yes, absolutely. I'm completely sure of that." True, masks will have to be worn in certain situations for a few more years, which will be annoying.
But there will also be "a few benefits." The virus has advanced medicine, he said. "The mRNA technology is a huge breakthrough, also for cancer and for other infectious diseases, let's think about influenza alone."
According to a survey, the majority of people in Germany currently miss leadership from the Chancellor and a clear course in Corona policy. 71 percent believe that the federal government does not provide a clear direction in Corona policy, according to a survey conducted by the Insa Institute for the "Bild am Sonntag" newspaper. 23 percent feel the opposite, and 6 percent did not specify.
61 percent of respondents also say that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) shows too little leadership. 26 percent see it differently, 13 percent of respondents gave no information.A general vaccination requirement is supported by 60 percent of those surveyed, while 33 percent are against it. Seven percent did not give an answer.
Image by Alex Escobar