2G, 3G, boosters, testing – what helps against the current increase in the number of infections? The Charité virologist paints a bleak picture.
Hamburg / Berlin – The virologist Christian Drosten expects “a very stressful winter” in the corona pandemic and also believes that new contact restrictions are conceivable.
“We now have a real emergency situation at the moment,” said the head of virology in the Berlin Charité in view of the situation in the intensive care units in the NDR podcast “The Coronavirus Update”. “We have to do something right now.”
One must also discuss measures “that we actually hoped to have behind us,” said Drosten. “So now we probably have to control the infection activity again through contact measures – not likely, but definitely.” However, he also restricted that it could be legally difficult to enforce broad general contact measures.
Goal: “Triple completely vaccinated population”
“You could rely on the booster vaccinations instead of contact limits,” said Drosten. “That’s something I really believe in.” However, it doesn’t go that fast. First you have to vaccinate the elders for the third time to prevent deaths. For younger people, the booster is “a lifeline for protection against transmission”. In the long term, the “ideal goal” must be: “a population that has been completely vaccinated three times over”.
3G – i.e. access for vaccinated, convalescent and tested people – is not enough, in Drosten’s assessment, to sufficiently reduce the number of infections. The motto is: “Testing does not protect against infection.” Those who are not vaccinated and go to an event or work with a negative test can become infected there because people who have been vaccinated can pass the virus on.
Although 2G closes the “back door” of the test option, it has the disadvantage that the contacts are shifted to private life. Since vaccinated people can also pass the pathogen on, “the virus will simply come home to them”.
Drosten: “We are in a bad situation”
Drosten is of the opinion “that the proposals that are politically on the table do not work precisely where our problem areas are in society”. In his opinion, the most recent decisions in Bavaria or Saxony are “no guarantee that this will really lead to this increase in incidence being broken”.
The proposal to test vaccinated and unvaccinated people on a regular basis is “logistically impossible”. In principle, offering tests again for free is not wrong, but it is “put out as an emergency brake, and it will not be under any circumstances”.
You have to make it clear to the population that “it’s very serious at the moment,” said Drosten. “We are in a bad situation: We have 15 million people who could actually have been vaccinated and who should have been vaccinated.” The way out of the pandemic is clear: “We have to close the vaccination gaps.”