After the long weekends, the number of new Corona infections is rising rapidly. A problem in the eyes of Corona expert Hans-Peter Hutter.
Summer has officially not even begun, and already the Corona numbers are rising again significantly. Five days ago, health authorities reported a high since April with 7,393 new cases. At the start of the week, this number was still considerably lower with 4,933 new infections on Monday – but by Wednesday, Corona experts expect another significant increase.
Molecular biologist Ulrich Elling, for example, also expects cases to rise well above 10,000 on Wednesday. “And you have to remember, this is only the measured wave,” Elling said in the “Heute” interview. The actual number is significantly higher but unknown, as many would forgo the tests.
For Hans-Peter Hutter, a MedUni Vienna specialist, the rapidly rising numbers and the declining willingness to test are not a big surprise. “If you drop all measures, the virus can spread unhindered diffusely in the population.” Hans-Peter Hutter said that society has decided to take this risk, “Heute.”
However, he said, there is an enormous disadvantage to simply letting the virus rush through: “On the one hand, that means many will get sick, and that is not ethically justifiable, and on the other hand, it can cause the virus to change very significantly, which is a necessary adjusting screw for the future. The more the virus circulates, the more people get infected, the more opportunity the virus has to change and mutate.” This, he said, increases the likelihood of another highly infectious variant and more waves.
The epidemiologist clarifies to “Heute”: “The best possible scenario will not happen because the numbers are already rising. I don’t hope it will come to that, but we should prepare for the worst-case scenario.” With this, Hutter refers to the four possible scenarios of simulation researcher Niki Popper. According to this, there could be other variants in the next few years that are similarly infectious and immune-skirting as Omicron but also similarly virulent as Delta. Thus, regular waves continue, leading to very high numbers of infections and, in some cases, high hospitalizations.
However, the decisive factor is not the ignorance of individuals but also the decision of the government to swing from one extreme to the other when it comes to measures, he said. “Something should be done constantly, finding a healthy middle ground with simple restrictions.” This would allow everyone to do what they want, but with “some accompanying or strolling measures.” Here Hutter sees above all the mask obligation, and the green passport is crucial.
However, he sees the jumble of measures as problematic, “if you travel on the train without a mask until Vienna and have to put on the mask in Meidling.” That would put the rules in a skewed light and drag them into ridicule. “They are taken less and less seriously as a result, which is a lasting damage.”
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