Corona pandemic: BA.5 variant predominant in Germany

Status: 06/24/2022 02:49 am

According to data from the RKI, most new corona infections in Germany can now be traced back to the BA.5 variant. The virologist Drosten expects the number of cases to increase significantly again after the end of the summer holidays.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the BA.5 variant of the corona virus is now predominant in Germany. This emerges from the current weekly report of the RKI.

According to this, around 50 percent of new infections nationwide are now due to infection with the subline of the omicron variant. However, this value is based on data that was collected around two weeks ago. Therefore, the current value should already be higher, according to the RKI. The BA.5 variant of the corona pathogen is considered to be easier to transmit than previously encountered types of the virus.

In addition, the RKI again recorded a slight increase in the utilization of the intensive care units. The DIVI intensive care register, which records the availability of intensive care beds in German clinics, shows that 810 patients are currently being treated for corona disease in the intensive care units of 1,250 hospitals that transmit their data to the register. At the beginning of the month there were still around 600 corona patients. Around 260 of the patients currently in intensive care require invasive ventilation.

Drosten expects an increase in infections from September

The head of virology at the Berlin Charité, Christian Drosten, expects that the number of new infections will increase again significantly after the summer holidays. In an interview with “Spiegel” he expressed his fear that the number of cases would increase again from September.

“We are actually seeing an exponential increase in the number of cases again,” warned Drosten: “The BA.5 variant is simply very transmissible, and at the same time people are losing their transmission protection from the last vaccination.” However, he also expects that far fewer people will become seriously ill or even die than last year.

Probably still further way to endemic condition

Drosten does not currently see the risk of overcrowded intensive care units either. However, subvariant BA.5 may again affect the lower airways more severely. “The wheel is turning more towards illness again,” says the virologist. It is not true that a virus automatically becomes more and more harmless in the course of evolution. “That makes me even more worried about the fall.”

Drosten gave up hope that the pandemic would become endemic this year. A disease is considered endemic if it occurs in a region with a relatively constant number of cases. “I assume that at some point a new balance will settle in: the population’s immunity from vaccinations and infections will eventually be so strong that the virus will become less important,” said Drosten. In the worst case, it could “take a few more winters”.

Majority for return to mask requirement indoors

In view of an imminent increase in the number of cases in autumn, ARD Germany trend A majority of Germans also advocated reintroducing the obligation to wear masks indoors in this case. 63 percent of citizens would support such a measure. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach recently emphasized that he considered the mask requirement indoors to be appropriate again from autumn.

In the age group of people over 65 in particular, a large proportion (77 percent) is in favor of a return to the obligation to wear masks indoors. Among 18 to 34 year olds, such a step meets with 48 percent approval.

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