Vienna’s Health Councillor expects second wave of omicron after semester break

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Vienna’s City Councillor for Health Peter Hacker expects a second wave after the semester break. Especially the Omicron sub-variant BA.2 is likely to drive up the infections, many may also get infected during the semester break.

School tests fall away during the semester break
Due to the start of the semester break, Corona tests at schools will fall away next week, many people will be on vacation, the consequence: “The numbers will go down next week,” Hacker said. The week after that, two events coincide: Corona screenings in schools will resume with the start of the summer semester, and Corona-positive vacation returnees will likely be found, he said. In addition, “the effect of the BA.2 variant will also be high up then.”

Vienna has a clear picture of the variant progression because all variants have been screened here as far as possible since the beginning of the year, the health councillor stressed. “We see a very clear course of the increase,” and it is taking the form already known from the “takeover” of the infection event by the Delta variant or the successor Omicron. There is “a doubling every week.”Omikron type BA.2 in Vienna at 15 per cent

Hacker described the current situation in the federal capital regarding the new Omicron-type BA.2 as follows: “We are now between ten and 20 per cent, depending on the district, and the average in Vienna is 15 per cent, so next week we will be at 30 per cent and the week after next we will be at 60 per cent.” Then BA.2 took over the situation, with unclear implications: One could not yet rely sufficiently on international experience in the assessment, he said. “If we look at Denmark, there the numbers have doubled again, although Denmark undoubtedly also has very, very strict protection measures behind it, and has had the whole omicron wave over a month ahead of us.”

“But we are sure that this new variant will not be a big gamechanger in terms of affecting people with severe disease,” the health councillor stressed. “That is, we will have extremely tense situations in hospitals, we have that now, but it will not become more dramatic.” What is certain at the moment, he said, is that “next week the numbers will go down, the week after next, we will have the full effect of this new variant.”

Hacker: the main problem is unvaccinated people
The main problem, Hacker said, continues to be people who have not yet been vaccinated. In terms of positive cases, there is a one-to-four ratio between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people across Austria, he said, with 63 per cent of positive cases being unvaccinated. “When I look in the hospital, there are effectively only unvaccinated people there.”

At the height of the Omicron wave, therefore, there should be no discussion of fewer protective measures, the councilman said. In Vienna, the exposure in intensive care units is currently not as high as in other waves, but currently, 450 patients in total are hospitalized with severe illnesses, comparatively fewer affected with lung problems, but more with diseases of the internal and cardiovascular organs, Hacker reported.

  • sources: vienna.at/APA/picture: pixabay.com
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