Lauterbach: “Endemic can mean a lot”

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Karl Lauterbach, Federal Minister of Health © Kay Nietfeld / dpa

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has warned not to expect the situation to worsen in the corona pandemic.

Berlin – “In the best case, the virus becomes more harmless and only triggers small and locally limited outbreaks,” he told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Friday edition). But nobody knows whether that will happen. “We have to be prepared for anything.”

Experts had recently predicted an imminent transition from the pandemic to the endemic coronavirus. “Endemic can mean a lot,” emphasized Lauterbach. “We can also get into an endemic situation in which a very dangerous variant is dominant, against which we have to continue to protect the weak with great effort.” Nobody can predict how the virus will develop.

Regarding the current corona situation in Germany, Lauterbach said that the sharp increase in the number of infections was within a range that experts from the Robert Koch Institute had previously calculated. “Germany is currently on the road with significantly lower case numbers than other European countries.”

He also defended the plan to ration the PCR tests, which are considered particularly reliable, due to the shortage of capacity. “The antigen test is now ideally suited for many test occasions because it works reliably and the results are available more quickly than with PCR tests.”

Lauterbach was appalled by people in healthcare professions who do not want to be vaccinated against Corona. “It is unacceptable for medical staff to deny scientific knowledge and even be willing to endanger patients,” he said. It must be accepted that individual specialists will leave their facilities when vaccinations in hospitals and nursing homes take effect from March 15th. “But then the question arises as to whether the person was even suitable for the job.”

He does not think that many nurses are critical of the corona vaccination, Lauterbach added. He wants to stick to the implementation date. Regarding the demand from individual federal states to postpone the introduction of facility-related compulsory vaccination, he said: “That’s out of the question for us.” It is about protecting those who are particularly at risk. The topic is currently being discussed “intensively” with the federal states.


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