Cities: Steps against Corona summer wave necessary

corona pandemic
Cities: Steps against Corona summer wave necessary

Coronavirus - testing lab

An employee holds a PCR test tube in his hands in a laboratory. Photo: Uwe Anspach/dpa

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Even more contagious omicron sublineages are spreading rapidly. So far, this has only had a minor impact on the intensive care units. Nevertheless, there are concerns – especially among the municipalities.

The German Association of Cities is concerned about the increasing number of corona infections and calls for rapid measures to contain the pandemic.

“We need quick decisions and a new federal infection protection law before the summer break,” said association president Markus Lewe to the newspapers of the Funke media group. It turns out that the instruments available are not sufficient. The cities should be able to act if Corona continues to spread by leaps and bounds. “The corona pandemic must not surprise us again and again.”

Lauterbach speaks of summer wave

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is already talking about a summer wave. On Friday, the SPD politician wants to comment on the situation with the Vice President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lars Schaade, in Berlin. The current regulations in the Infection Protection Act expire on September 23. Free citizen tests are initially regulated up to and including June 29th. By June 30th, the report of a committee of experts is expected, which will evaluate the previous protective measures. According to the meeting calendar, the Bundestag will go on summer break on July 8th and will not meet again until the week beginning September 5th.

Lewe, who is mayor of the city of Münster, has called on the federal and state governments to extend free citizen tests and keep the municipal vaccination centers operational. If necessary, he also advocates the obligation to wear masks indoors, for example in retail. “The same applies to 3G or 2G rules, i.e. access for the vaccinated, those who have recovered and possibly also those who have been tested. The law needs to change here.”

Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek quickly calls for clarity for testing. “The federal government is still leaving the states in the dark about how to proceed,” criticized the CSU politician in the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “One thing is clear: the more people have the opportunity to be tested easily and free of charge – and also use this offer – the faster and more efficiently infections can be detected and infection chains broken.”

Corona variants on the rise

Meanwhile, sublines of the omicron variant are also spreading in Germany. The RKI assumes that they already dominate. “The strong growth of BA.4 and BA.5 in particular, but also BA.2.12.1, suggests that these variants currently already make up the majority of the evidence,” says the new RKI weekly report. The data in the report always refers to the week before last: BA.5 made up around 24 percent of the positive samples in a random sample at the time, which again corresponds to around a doubling of the value from the previous week. BA.4 and BA.2.12.1 were both around four percent.

The RKI also points to a slight increase in Covid 19 cases in intensive care units and advises people to follow more recommendations to avoid infection. According to Gernot Marx, President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), the numbers are lower than they have been since the end of August 2021. “But the number is not as low as in the past two summers,” said Marx of the German Press Agency.

It will take a few more weeks of patience to get more clarity about the severity of the disease in the omicron subline BA.5. “We’ll have to wait and see how things develop with BA.5,” said Marx. At the moment, the “biggest concern” is that in the course of the summer wave with the more contagious variant, many staff could again be absent due to infections.

Streeck: No reason to panic

The Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck sees no reason to panic in the increasing number of infections. “I don’t think we’ll get to a point again where we’ll talk about a lockdown again,” he told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. Streeck referred to the “very good immunity in the population”. However, the virologist considers the data on the pandemic to be insufficient, for example whether people are in the hospital with or because of Corona.

Lauterbach had also advised older people and people with previous illnesses to get a fourth vaccination. The Stiko Standing Vaccination Commission has so far only recommended the second booster for parts of the population, including people over the age of 70, staff in medical and nursing facilities and people with immunodeficiency. The Commission is sticking to that. Stiko chairman Thomas Mertens told the “Rheinische Post” (Friday) that a new statement “only makes sense after the summer”.


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