Cologne intensive care physician Christian Karagiannidis is confident about the development of the corona pandemic in autumn and winter. The plans for changes to the Infection Protection Act offer sufficient opportunities to weaken a possible wave of infections in autumn, Karagiannidis told the Düsseldorf "Rheinische Post". "In the cold season from October, I don't expect the intensive care units to be overloaded by Covid-19 like before in the pandemic," explained Karagiannidis.
The doctor, who is also a member of the Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council, called for a better data basis for assessing the infection process. "Our biggest problem will be a large loss of workers if there are more infections again," he emphasized. In order for the federal states to be able to impose the effective measures in a targeted manner, more data is needed, for example on the utilization of the normal stations and rescue centers.
Karagiannidis also called for changes to the citizen tests. "If tests should become more important again in autumn and winter, then symptomatic people should also get a free rapid antigen test with a certificate," he said.
In the current summer wave, the Robert Koch Institute continues to see major challenges despite the recent downward trend. Although incidences and other values have recently dropped significantly, the general infection pressure remains high, according to the institute’s weekly report on Covid-19 on Thursday evening. "The associated burden on the health system also remains high, even if the operational situation has improved slightly in the past week." At the same time, the RKI sees a further need for vaccination among millions of people.
The nationwide seven-day incidence fell significantly by a total of 21 percent last week compared to the previous week, according to the weekly report. The incidences are declining in a weekly comparison in all federal states and age groups.
In addition to the incidence, which incompletely reflects the infection process, the RKI also looks at a few other data sources in the report. The values for acute respiratory diseases in the general population, such as the number of doctor visits, have fallen compared to those in the previous week - but are still higher than in previous years at this time, the experts point out. In addition, outbreaks in nursing homes continued to increase.
The RKI recently spoke of a fairly stable level of deaths in connection with the virus – 444 were therefore transmitted in the past week. The number of hospital admissions of people who have a severe acute respiratory infection and a Covid 19 diagnosis has fallen in the last week for the first time in a long time.
According to the RKI experts, however, the all-clear is not indicated: With a view to the next few weeks, the institute expects a “continued high number of hospitalizations, Covid 19 patients requiring intensive care and deaths, especially in older age groups”.
The omicron subline BA.5 has increased somewhat at a high level and, according to the latest available data, has been found in more than 92 percent of the positive samples. According to the RKI, the spread of the omicron subline BA.2.75, about whose mutations some researchers had recently shown concern, is mainly observed in India and various other regions worldwide. A total of five proofs are known in this country.
The RKI also calls for "absolutely" complying with the recommendations for avoiding infection - and once again emphasizes the great importance of the corona vaccination. The booster vaccination continues to protect very effectively against severe courses, even in Omicron times, which is why, in addition to the start of vaccination for the unvaccinated, vaccination gaps must also be closed for those who have only had basic immunization so far, writes an RKI team in the new monthly report on Covid- 19 vaccinations.
In June, the previous low in the vaccination process was reached with almost one million vaccinations in around 29,700 vaccination centers. In July, the number of vaccinating bodies continued to decrease, but at a good one million, for the first time, slightly more vaccinations were registered than in the previous month, according to the report.
Nevertheless, according to the experts, around 1.3 million people over the age of 60 and around 7.8 million people under the age of 60 who are only basic immunized would have to refresh their vaccination protection with at least one vaccination. Around 7.3 million adults under the age of 60 and 1.9 million over the age of 60 would not have received a vaccination at all. According to current monitoring as of the beginning of August, a good 85 percent of the adult population are basic immunized, a good 72 percent have received a first booster vaccination, almost 10 percent a second.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has been infected with the corona virus. “The minister is fine with only mild symptoms. He is temporarily taking his official business out of domestic isolation,” said the Ministry of Health.