8.3 C
Ljubljana
četrtek, 4 marca, 2021

German virologist Drosten warns of 100,000 daily Covid-19 cases if measures taken away too early

Source: thelocal.de

Christian Drosten has warned that Germany could see up to 100,000 Covid-19 infections a day if numbers are not brought down and measures are relaxed too quickly.

In an interview with Spiegel published on Friday, the chief virologist at Berlin’s Charité hospital said it would be dangerous to get rid of Covid-19 measures too early when vaccinations are still ongoing.

Drosten said no-one knows for certain how long the pandemic will last, but “we absolutely have to manage not to fly off the track”. Germany must now persevere and “put on the brakes, even if they are rusty”.

In view of the more contagious virus variant B.1.1.7 from Great Britain, the case numbers must now be pushed down as far as possible, the virologist said.

“It would be absolutely desirable to at least aim for zero now,” he said. At the moment, there is still a “unique opportunity” to prevent the spread of this variant in Germany or at least to slow it down considerably.

A study proved that the virus mutant is up to 35 per cent more infectious. “This is unfortunately more dangerous than if it had become more deadly, because each new infected person will thus infect more people, and each of these people will in turn infect more people. So the number of infected people will grow exponentially.”

‘Younger people will be more affected’

If case numbers are not brought down low enough now, he said, there could be negative consequences in the spring and summer.

“When the elderly and perhaps some of the at-risk groups will have been vaccinated, there will be huge economic, social, political and perhaps legal pressure to end the coronavirus measures,” Drosten said.

But if this happens, he said a lot of people would become infected with Covid-19 within a short time. “Then we would no longer have case numbers of 20,000 or 30,000, but in the worst case: 100,000 per day,” Drosten warned.

Younger people are more likely to be affected then, and they are less likely to have severe courses of the disease than older people.

“But if a lot of young people get infected, the intensive care units will be full again,” Drosten said. “And there are still many deaths. It’s just that it hits younger people.”

Drosten also doesn’t assume that numbers will automatically drop again when it gets warmer.

“The fact that we had such a relaxed summer in 2020 probably had to do with the fact that our case numbers stayed below a critical threshold in the spring,” Drosten said. “But that is no longer the case now.”

‘More could have been done’

On Wednesday the German government and states tightened the lockdown measures. One of the new rules includes a decree requiring employers to allow employees to work from home (known as home office in Germany) if possible. However, there is no firm right to working from home.

Drosten described the working from home regulations as insufficient. “More could certainly have been done,” he said.

It would have been helpful to take a cue from the Irish experience in autumn, he added. “Ireland pushed strictly for ‘home offices’ at that time, and that was apparently very effective,” Drosten said. “This automatically reduces occupancy in public transport.”

According to the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), more than 50,000 people have now died in Germany in connection with coronavirus infections. The total number of infected people is 2.1 million.

Share

Latest news

Presidents long opposed on many issues may decide to cooperate

By: V4 Agency The two leaders have not spoken to each other for months, but now there is a good chance that they will work...

Hungary introduces new restrictions

By: V4 Agency As the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is also affecting Hungary, the government has decided to impose tough, new restrictions. Hungary will...

PM Orban: Long live the democratic right!

By: V4 Agency "Fidesz has left the European People's Party Group in the European Parliament. It has refused to accept that the rights of Members...

Another EU country – Czech Republic – orders Chinese vaccine

By: V4 Agency The V4 country struggling with vaccine shortages may soon receive the Sinopharm vaccine from China. China will deliver Sinopharm vaccines to the Czech...

Related news

Presidents long opposed on many issues may decide to cooperate

By: V4 Agency The two leaders have not spoken to each other for months, but now there is a good chance that they will work...

Hungary introduces new restrictions

By: V4 Agency As the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is also affecting Hungary, the government has decided to impose tough, new restrictions. Hungary will...

PM Orban: Long live the democratic right!

By: V4 Agency "Fidesz has left the European People's Party Group in the European Parliament. It has refused to accept that the rights of Members...

Another EU country – Czech Republic – orders Chinese vaccine

By: V4 Agency The V4 country struggling with vaccine shortages may soon receive the Sinopharm vaccine from China. China will deliver Sinopharm vaccines to the Czech...
Share