“COVID 19 measures are not enough at the moment” – virologist warns

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Virologist Dorothee von Laer warns about the development of the coronavirus situation in this country. Currently, she said, we are “running into” an autumn wave “that could be massive.” “At the moment, the measures are not enough, the numbers continue to rise,” the virologist told Ö1-Mittagsjournal on Saturday. On the radio and in the news magazine “profil” she also warned of a possible new lockdown.

The autumn wave could also bring occupancy in intensive care units, von Laer said. One should not underestimate the effect of the delta variant, the virologist said. “At the moment, it depends a bit on how many are still getting vaccinated quickly now and that those who were vaccinated very early this year get a booster in time,” von Laer said of the current situation.

However, “In principle, we cannot exclude at the moment that we will run into a lockdown again,” said the Innsbruck virologist. “We need to flatten this wave so that we can avoid a lockdown,” the virologist appealed. She said she currently assumes that just under 70 percent of the population is immunized – that is, either through vaccination or as a recovered person.

For the coming winter, however, that might be too little. The virologist insists that there is still a lot of catching up to do here: “If another ten percent of the population were to get vaccinated and high-risk people had themselves refreshed in time, then we could definitely get through the winter,” says von Laer.

“1-G rule” nonsense for virologist
In an interview with the news magazine “profil”, she criticized the “1-G rule”, i.e. that only the vaccination, but not a recovery or a test, counts as proof. This makes “no sense at all” to her, as it excludes those who have recovered, she said in the current issue of the magazine.

According to von Laer, those who have recovered are even better protected against a new infection than those who have been vaccinated. In the interview, the virologist also insists that a detailed antibody study should be conducted to determine the vaccination protection of the population.

Two months for vaccination of at-risk children
As for vaccine protection for young people, von Laer sees vaccination of children under the age of twelve coming soon. Currently, people can only be vaccinated from the age of twelve, “we will have vaccination for under-twelve-year-olds this winter,” the expert told “profil.” It will then take around two months to vaccinate at-risk children, she added.

Compulsory vaccination for potential “superspreaders
Speaking to Ö1, von Lear advocated mandatory vaccination for “certain areas.” If one wants to avoid a lockdown, then “one must introduce a vaccination obligation, at least in certain areas,” according to the virologists. For example, educators should be vaccinated “if they are not recovered,” and mandatory vaccination is also “self-evident” for health care workers.

Vaccination should also be mandatory in other areas where there is a risk of becoming a “superspreader” because the person is around a lot of people, for example, the virologist said. As an example, she cites night catering and public transport, such as “the conductors on crowded trains.”

Incidence more than tripled since end of July
In fact, infection figures have risen significantly in recent weeks. Currently, the 7-day incidence, i.e. the number of new infections in the last seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 103.3. By way of comparison, on July 27, this figure was still 31.5 – in other words, the incidence has tripled in one month. Vaccination progress is also rather sluggish, although there are major regional differences. Urban districts in particular have recently made significant gains in terms of vaccination progress.

The combination of vaccination rate and incidence will play a much more important role in the future: Regional intensifications will also be linked to vaccination coverage rates, according to a decree from the Ministry of Health that went into effect Friday. Intensive care bed occupancy in each state will also play a role – no longer incidence alone.

— sources: orf.at, „Profil“-Artikel, MedUni Innsbruck, Gesundheitsministerium, AGES /picture: pixabay.com

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