Omikron wave: “The numbers will increase significantly”


Status: 01/12/2022 1:40 p.m.

The WHO forecast that half of the population in Europe will soon be infected with the coronavirus, the virologist Stürmer considers to be quite realistic. in the tagesschau24-Interview, he advocates stricter and more uniform measures.

tagesschau24: The World Health Organization (WHO) warns, citing projections, that in two months more than half of the people in Europe could have been infected with Omikron. What is it?

Martin Striker: Omikron spreads very effectively – even more clearly than Delta. Even with vaccination and booster vaccination, you are not optimally protected against this variant. In this respect, it is definitely an assessment that can become possible. Depending on how stringently you are now progressing with the booster vaccinations – or with contact restrictions ensures that the whole thing does not get so violent.

Martin Stürmer, virologist, on new maximum infection values ​​due to the Omikron variant

tagesschau24 11:00 a.m., January 12th, 2022

“The booster vaccination is not free”

tagesschau24: People who have already received a booster vaccination are now also infected with corona. Does Omikron bypass the vaccination?

Striker: Yes, it does to a certain extent. Not 100 percent – especially with a fresh booster vaccination, you are still relatively well protected against infection with Omikron. Not quite as good as against a delta infection, but also significantly better than if the booster was six months ago. In this respect, the booster vaccination is not free, but it is the best protection against infection with Omikron. Accordingly, I can only advise you to take advantage of the offers.

tagesschau24: Meanwhile, more people are infected with Corona than ever before. More than 80,000 have tested positive. What do you suppose? Will the numbers in Germany continue to rise?

Striker: Yes. It is to be feared that we will see significantly increasing numbers again in the next few days and weeks. The omicron wave is only really building up now. Omikron is not yet the overwhelmingly dominant variant everywhere. I assume that it will be much more intense. And accordingly we have to adjust to a lot.

tagesschau24: What do you think of the fourth vaccination like Israel is doing?

Striker: This is an important discussion to have, even if in Israel they weren’t quite as convinced of the dates for the fourth vaccination. But you should think about doing another intermediate vaccination, especially for people with a high risk of severe disease – for whom the booster may have been a long time ago – before we have the vaccine adapted to Omikron available.

tagesschau24: When do you think this customized vaccine will be on the market?

Striker: I think that the estimates for spring – March, April, May – are quite realistic. We will certainly see a new situation again. We’ll see how well it actually works in reality. And I am optimistic that with this and in combination with the warmer season we will be able to generate a much more relaxed situation.

“I would like a uniform approach”

tagesschau24: They suspect the numbers will keep going up. Do you still consider the measures that now apply in the individual federal states to be appropriate?

Striker: It is a very difficult situation. I do think that one would have had the chance to mitigate the wave somewhat with more restrictive contact restrictions. What we’re doing now is sharpening up, chasing the wave a bit.

Of course, one could, for example, reduce the maximum number of customers permitted in shops and tighten some of the measures. That would certainly do something to prevent Omikron from spreading quite as violently. There is still room for improvement.

I would like to see a uniform approach in the countries. I now see a patchwork quilt or a mess with many of the measures and regulations. This is not really ideal for everyone involved.

tagesschau24: Does that mean that the epidemic emergency, which has expired, should apply again in all countries?

Striker: That would surely make it more consistent or easier. I had the impression that with the federal emergency brake the acceptance in the population and the implementation of the measures went best – because it was simply clear that the virus in Schleswig-Holstein is the same as the virus in Bavaria. Why should there be different rules? You can always control this depending on the incidence and thus map regional differences. But we’re talking about the same virus, so I’m in favor of a consistent approach.

The questions were asked by Kirsten Gerhard, tagesschau24. The interview was edited and shortened for the written version.

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