The fifth wave of the pandemic will be of the Omicron variant, estimates the head of the “Robert Koch” Institute
The fifth wave of the pandemic will come and will be the wave of the Omicron variant, estimates the president of the “Robert Koch” Institute Lothar Wheeler, stressing that the most important way to level the new wave is the immediate reduction of cases, through vaccination and protection measures. Mr Wheeler also points out that with booster vaccination the protection against infection reaches 75% and underlines that it is clearly better to achieve immunity with the vaccine than with the infection. Regarding the possibility of vaccination, he notes that “the lives and health of millions of people are more valuable than protecting people from an injection.”
“Omicron will spread very fast, the fifth wave will come. “If we can significantly reduce the current level of cases, we have the opportunity to maintain the ‘Omicron wave’ level,” the head of the German Scientific Institute told Der Spiegel. constantly masking, restricting contacts, canceling important events, closing hotspots such as clubs, checking for compliance with rules such as restaurants and increasing protection measures in hospitals and nursing homes. “I’m worried that the measures will be relaxed again due to the reduction in numbers and that would be wrong,” said Mr Wheeler.
Regarding the protection provided by the vaccines from “Omicron”, the distinguished scientist explains that the two vaccines do not protect against infection, but “With booster vaccination, protection against infection is improved to about 75%, which is a lot“, While he adds that in the new year we will have a vaccine adapted to the new variant.
In the question “When will we have defeated the pandemic”, Lothar Wheeler refers to the creation of immunity of the population: “We will have defeated the pandemic, when everyone will have come in contact with the virus and will be immune, either through vaccination or through disease.” Then, he continues, we will move to the endemic state. “The virus will continue to circulate, but the progression of the disease and the waves will not be so great. People will continue to get sick and die, but to a much lesser extent. I repeat, it is better to acquire immunity through vaccination than through infection. We forget that there is chronic Covid and some patients are unable to work for months. Even in children there are problems. The immunity of the population is the goal – and for the whole world. “After the end of the pandemic, only certain risk groups, people with underlying disease, pregnant women should be vaccinated.”
About planned vaccination obligation, Mr. Wheeler points out that the best way is to be convinced of the need to be vaccinated. “Obligation, he says, should be the last resort, but of course we should also consider this option”, he emphasizes and admits that he himself hoped that the percentage of vaccinated people would be higher now and that there would not be about 11 today. millions of adults unvaccinated, although there are now insufficient data on the efficacy and safety of vaccines. “The lives and health of millions of people are more valuable than protecting people from an injection,” said Mr Wheeler, adding that “there is a need for an intensive and open public debate on this issue.” “It could even be a great moment for the Federal Parliament,” he said.
Asked about the denial of the pandemic or the vaccines, the head of the Robert Koch Institute estimates that the persistent negatives of the coronavirus can not be approached, they are “ideologically finished”. However, it makes the distinction with those who are not sure if they should be vaccinated, because there are some untruths around the subject. “One can approach them”, he explains and mentions that many times on the train his fellow passengers approach him and ask him questions. In the end they thank him for taking the time to explain. “There is still a lot that can be done,” he said.
Mr Wheeler is still pleased with the choice of Karl Lauterbach, who is also a professor of epidemiology, to take over as health minister. “In recent years, Lauterbach has always made very specific and well-founded statements about the pandemic. “He is clear in his views, one can easily imagine how he intends to fight the crisis.”
Asked how he, as a devout Catholic, combines his Christian faith with science, Lothar Wheeler states: “I do not leave my status at the door of the church. My faith gives me a foundation and trust in God. I have a Christian view of man and it is important that we protect and respect creation. “This facilitates my work as a scientist and the effort to prevent illness and death as much as possible.” At Christmas, he will go to church, he is asked, to explain that he will decide at the last minute, depending on the number of cases in his area and the protection measures taken by his parish.