Lauterbach’s warning: soon hundreds of thousands of new infections per day?

Status: 01/20/2022 03:28 am

Health Minister Lauterbach has warned of hundreds of thousands of new infections per day in view of the omicron wave. At the weekend, Lauterbach wants to present a regulation to prioritize PCR tests.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) expects several hundred thousand new corona infections a day by mid-February. With a view to realistic scenarios, it can be assumed that “the wave will peak around mid-February and that we will then have to expect several hundred thousand cases a day,” said Lauterbach in the evening on the ZDF program “Markus Lanz”.

It is not said that the scenarios will come about, but “they have the greatest probability”. There are countries that could cope with such numbers with a view to the intensive care units, but the situation in Germany is different.

“Since we have a high number of unvaccinated older people in Germany, things can turn out very differently here than in Italy, France or England, for example,” said Lauterbach. In England, for example, the number of unvaccinated people over the age of 50 is one to two percent. “These are values ​​that we can’t get close to.”

Stress test in intensive care units

Regarding the falling hospitalization rate in Germany despite the currently high number of new infections, Lauterbach said that this was an “irrelevant snapshot” because the wave that is currently running in England and France is still coming in Germany. “I would expect the right load in the intensive care units in mid or late February, that’s still a month away and then I hope it will still look good,” said Lauterbach. “That will be the endurance test, not what we are seeing now.”

Regulation on PCR test prioritization coming this weekend

Lauterbach wants to present a regulation to prioritize the evaluation of PCR tests at the weekend. “We need good test rules so that we usually use the PCR tests for those where we have to be absolutely sure that they are either sick or they are healthy again. The regulation for this will come at the weekend,” said the SPD Politician.

Employees in sensitive healthcare facilities should then be given preferential treatment. According to Lauterbach, the draft resolution should be decided at the Prime Ministers’ Conference on Monday. “It is very clear that the hospital employees, the nursing staff, the people involved in integration assistance, the people who care for the disabled, must be given special consideration”. In particular, it must also be ensured that those who return from isolation are no longer contagious.

Obligations for Laboratories

In a draft regulation by the Federal Ministry of Health as of Tuesday afternoon, it says that in view of the scarce capacities and drastically increasing infections, it is necessary that “a priority diagnosis of sample material from employees who have contact with particularly vulnerable groups of people is ensured”. It is available to the German Press Agency, and the “Bild” newspaper first reported on it.

Specifically, laboratories should be obliged to give priority to examining samples from employees in clinics, nursing homes, facilities for people with disabilities and the respective outpatient services. According to the draft, the employees should demonstrate a corresponding activity at the test center. The test centers should then note the prioritization in the form sent to the laboratory.

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