Corona: “Omicron wave can no longer be prevented”

Status: 12/22/2021 1:46 p.m.

According to Health Minister Lauterbach, the Omikron variant will soon dominate the infection process. But he expects Germany to get the variant under control. Vaccination remains the most important instrument.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach expects Germany to get the Omikron variant of the corona virus under control. “The measures we have taken are working,” he said at a joint press conference with the President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, and the chairman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Andreas Gassen.

However, a fifth corona wave from the Omikron variant can no longer be stopped in Germany. There are now so many infections with the Omicron variant. We have to assume that the omicron wave can no longer be prevented, “said Lauterbach.

Booster campaign against Omikron

The most important tool in the fight against this wave of infections is a “particularly offensive” booster vaccination campaign, said Lauterbach. The booster strategy could not completely prevent the omicron wave, “but it is the most important thing that can be done to prevent many people from becoming seriously ill,” said the health minister.

Current studies showed that the booster vaccinations provided good protection against infections and severe courses. In contrast to the second vaccination, according to the studies, the protective effect after the booster vaccination already starts after a week. With regard to symptomatic infections, the effectiveness of the booster vaccinations is “somewhere between 70 and 80 percent”, the protection against a severe course is probably “well over 90 percent,” said Lauterbach.

Four million Novavax cans

Lauterbach was confident that the announced 30 million booster vaccinations would be administered by Christmas. Already now, 27 million booster doses have been inoculated. The goal is to give a total of 60 million booster vaccinations. For this, 30 million more doses of the Moderna vaccine and three million doses of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine would be available.

Lauterbach urged the vaccination doctors to use the Moderna vaccine. This is “a particularly good vaccine”. Lauterbach wants to push the booster campaign at full speed between Christmas and the turn of the year. This could dramatically slow the spread of the virus.

For the period between December 24th and January 9th, doctors and pharmacists should receive the Sunday and public holiday rate of 38 euros per vaccination for one vaccination. In addition, he ordered four million doses of the newly approved vaccine from Novavax, Lauterbach said. The material will soon arrive directly from production.

Falling number of cases “no sign of relaxation”

RKI President Wieler expects the situation to worsen shortly. “The number of cases has been falling in the past few days, but unfortunately that is not a sign of relaxation,” he said. “We have to get the number of cases down, which is still very high.” In addition, there is a wave of infections of unprecedented dynamics, so that the health system is threatened with overload.

In Germany, around 540 Omikron cases and around 1848 suspected cases have been reported to the RKI so far. Most of these dates are one to two weeks old. Wieler said: “The trend is crystal clear: with a doubling time of around three days, the new variant could already account for the majority of all cases of infection in our country in the next one, two or three weeks at the latest.”

Voters warn of contact restrictions

In addition, the corona situation in Germany is incomplete in the reporting data over the holidays and the turn of the year, warned Wieler. This can be explained by vacations, closed medical practices, fewer tests at work, in schools and daycare centers and, accordingly, less pathogen evidence, he said.

Nevertheless, it is clear what needs to be done: In addition to vaccination, reducing contacts is crucial. He again appealed to the population to limit their contacts on the holidays as well. “Christmas must not be the spark that ignites the Omicron fire,” he said.

Nationwide seven-day incidence fell again

In the morning, the RKI reported a nationwide seven-day incidence that had fallen compared to the previous day. The RKI gave the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week as 289.0. For comparison: the day before the nationwide value was 306.4, a week ago it was 353.0 (previous month: 386.5). The health authorities in Germany reported 45,659 new corona infections within one day, as the RKI announced. A week ago there were 51,301 infections.

The number of reported infections has been going down for about three weeks. However, due to the more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, experts fear an imminent trend reversal.

According to the information, 510 deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours. A week ago there were 453 deaths. This increased the total number of deaths in connection with corona infections in Germany to 109,324.

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