Vienna: Virologist ‘not sure if wave will flatten out’

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Virologist Norbert Nowotny said Thursday’s new CoV measures in Vienna are very targeted. A mask obligation, for example, in supermarkets, is not considered meaningful at present. The expert is not sure whether the wave of infection will level off in the summer.

CoV numbers will continue to rise, according to various model calculations. To what extent are there different scenarios, according to the City of Vienna expert staff. The first CoV summer wave since the beginning of the pandemic is on the rise, said the medical chief of the health association, Michael Binder, on Thursday in a press conference with Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ).

“Tourists with the virus in their luggage”
His forecast: “We’re in the middle of a wave that will decrease in late summer, then pick up again when everyone returns from vacation.” Nowotny doubted Thursday evening in the “Wien heute” interview that the wave of infection could subside in the summer: “It would be nice if it did. But I’m not entirely sure.” Because although many now went on vacation, very “many tourists and with them in the luggage virus” would come to Austria.

Nowotny sees the new CoV measures, which the city decided on Thursday, as “positive” because they protect the most at-risk groups. At the press conference, Ludwig had not ruled out further measures in early August. Whether in August, for example, a mask duty in the supermarket will be needed again is the big question, Nowotny said.

Mask obligation “to be expected in any case.”
At present, however, he would not have introduced it either, Nowotny said. Personal responsibility is essential, he said. “Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do it, and vulnerable groups, in particular, should do it, and they should also undergo a fourth vaccination now.”

He said we could expect a more substantial wave in the fall and winter. The question will be which variant is dominant then, he said. “But we have an excellent monitoring system in Austria, and we should see promptly when it becomes critical. And then we can still take measures.” The masking requirement, however, will be the measure “we have to reckon with in any case.”

Better protected after recovery?
When asked whether one is better protected against a new infection after recovery, the virologist said, “Here, vaccination and infection caused by vaccination are to be seen similarly. I am protected from a severe course, but I am not protected from infection.”

  • source: red, wien.ORF.at/picture: pixabay.com
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