Virologist warns: Omicron not “mild”

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German hospitals are heading for very high numbers of corona patients again, according to Munich virologist Oliver Keppler. The scientist believes that the force of the wave of infections will be reflected in the clinics. “A downplaying of Omicron would therefore be fatal, the classification as “mild”, which can often be read, I consider to be fire dangerous,” said the head of virology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

“In the U.S., we see a monstrous infection event with up to a million new cases of infection a day,” the Max von Pettenkofer Institute executive said. “There are more Covid 19 patients in hospitals there than at any time in the pandemic, and the death toll is also picking up significantly in recent weeks. Now this is anything but “mild.”

Preliminary research from the U.K. and U.S. suggested that omicron infections were about two to three times less likely to result in hospitalization across the board than delta infections. “But this new variant, after all, generates much higher infection dynamics, with new infection rates ten to twenty times higher than in the delta wave at a comparable time.” In addition, Keppler cautioned that the long-term impact of omicron infections has not yet been studied in the context of Long Covid.

Keppler criticized predictions of an imminent end to the pandemic: “People, some of whom are now loudly proclaiming the end of the pandemic for the third time, should be a bit more cautious, because many people then become careless and take greater risks.”

The virologist warned that the pandemic may still not be over by the fall: “Based on the evidence of the last two years, however, we have to assume that people who contract omicron now and refuse vaccination will already have almost no immune protection against a new SARS-CoV-2 variant in the fall.”

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