Virologist Christian Drosten believes that the current calming of the nationwide Corona infection figures is a temporary phenomenon. He said it is already apparent that incidence is picking up in eastern German states, apparently independent of the end of the vacations.
"I think there are now signs of the autumn and winter wave that we will probably see again in October," the scientist from Berlin's Charité hospital said Tuesday evening in an excerpt from the podcast "Coronavirus Update" on NDR-Info.
The previous rise in incidence had been due in particular to testing at schools after the end of the summer vacations and imported cases - and was not yet necessarily the start of the winter wave, according to Drosten's assessment.
Given the current rate of about 64 percent fully vaccinated in the population, he expects them to roll loose this year at a time like last year, the Corona expert told the station. At that time, he said, it was clear in the second half of October "that we were going back into an exponential increase."
Closing the vaccination gaps must be the goal of society as a whole, Drosten further emphasized. It is a matter of convincing those who are still unvaccinated or otherwise getting them to get vaccinated. This is no longer a scientific task, but a political one.
The virologist judged the current vaccination progress to be inadequate. "The numbers look bad." Denmark, for example, is in a much better position than Germany. Drosten did point to the uncertainty that more people in Germany may already have been vaccinated than has so far been recorded in the reporting system. This is a "nice hope" at the moment, but should not be the basis for decisions and planning.
With regard to the treatment of Covid-19, the virologist pointed out that there are now better options for severe courses of the disease. In the early stages of infection, however, monoclonal antibodies are the only option. According to Drosten, these relatively expensive preparations, which are not widely available, can be given to newly infected unvaccinated people with certain risk factors. These drugs are intended to prevent the development of a severe course of the disease.
He sees monoclonal antibodies more as reserved for the few patients who cannot be vaccinated or who do not respond to vaccination, Drosten described. Preventive use in high-risk patients is also conceivable, he said. "But none of that is a solution that would be universally recommended. And that's just always the worse solution in competition with vaccination."
Photo by Patrick Assal