Lauterbach and Wieler: Striving for harmony

As of: December 22nd, 2021, 4:41 pm

At their second joint press conference, Minister Lauterbach and RKI boss Wieler were under special observation, because yesterday there was resentment about RKI demands. Today both tried to reach unity.

Kai Küstner
ARD capital studio

By Kai Küstner, ARD capital studio

After yesterday’s events, it was an inevitable question, and Karl Lauterbach must have guessed that it was coming: Whether he was still standing by the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler – the capital city journalists wanted to know: “That leaves easy to answer: Otherwise he would not be sitting here “, so the answer of the Federal Minister of Health. Which elicited a giggle from his neighbor Wieler. And the subtle sentence – speaking of each other: “But you are also sitting at the moment.”

If you laugh at the same jokes together, your relationship can’t be that bad. That was the message.

Measures against omicron spread

Nadine Bader, ARD Berlin, daily news 2 p.m., December 22, 2021

Displeasure about the RKI’s rushing ahead

Even yesterday, Health Minister Lauterbach was quite annoyed with the head of the institute subordinate to him: Shortly before the federal-state switch, the RKI had issued a statement calling for significantly stricter measures than were planned and ultimately decided. And with it – without agreement – the pressure increased enormously.

“The coordination will still be optimized” is the most critical sentence that Lauterbach can elicit on the day after the communication disaster. And Wieler also made every effort to sound very similar to the Minister of Health today: “The goal is identical. Everyone who makes decisions in this country has the same goal: We want to reduce the number of cases.”

Wieler: “Wave of infections with a dynamic that has not yet been seen”

Which brought the two of them back to the actual topic of their joint appearance, namely the forthcoming fifth wave – the Omikron wave, which, from the point of view of the two professors, can no longer be prevented: “With Omikron, a wave of infections must be expected from one that has not yet been seen dynamics “, warns Wieler. Although he does not criticize the decisions of the federal-state switch from the previous evening, it sounds a bit more worried than Lauterbach.

He does not believe that the wave can be stopped either, but adds: “We made clear decisions yesterday that will accelerate the drop in cases and will run the booster campaign during this time particularly severe omicron waves to be averted. ”

As he says this, Lauterbach makes a downward motion with both arms, as if physically trying to push the pandemic to the ground.

Boosters – the decisive instrument

Boosters are undoubtedly the most important tool to achieve this goal. The vaccination campaign should continue to run at full speed over the holidays. In addition, four million doses of the new, protein-based vaccine Novavax have been ordered. The federal government expects a delivery in January.

From the point of view of the head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, this is also optimistic news: “I could imagine that we will still reach one or the other here who has previously struggled with the mRNA vaccines. We have a good chance of not to run in front of an unbridgeable infection and sickness wall here. “

Will the wave become a wall?

Whether the prophesied omicron wave becomes an omicron wall ultimately depends – once again – on people’s behavior, warns Wieler. “We all want to spend the holidays with family, friends and relatives. But Christmas shouldn’t be the spark that ignites the Omicron fire.” Lauterbach also called for the pandemic to be slowed down.

It should take a while before the two are perceived as a well-rehearsed tandem. But the new duo Lauterbach / Wieler tried to start today.

Lauterbach, Wieler and Omikron

Kai Küstner, ARD Berlin, 22.12.2021 · 15:41

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