corona pandemic
Drosten fears very high corona numbers after the summer holidays

virologist Christian Drosten

Christian Drosten, Director of the Institute for Virology, Charité Berlin, fears that the number of corona cases will be very high after the summer holidays. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

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Vaccination protection is slowly fading and the BA.5 variant is gaining ground at a rapid pace. Virologist Drosten fears that the pandemic will not be over by the end of the year.

The virologist Christian Drosten expects a very high number of new corona cases after the summer holidays in Germany.

“I hope that the school holidays will slow down the increase in the number of cases. But from September, I’m afraid we will have very high case numbers,” said the head of the virology department at the Berliner charity the “Spiegel” in an interview published on Thursday evening. If nothing is done, there will be “a lot of sick leave” in working life.

“We are actually seeing an exponential increase in the number of cases again,” warned Drosten. “The BA.5 variant is just very transferrable, and people lose their transfer protection from the last one at the same time vaccination.» In other countries you can see that with very high case numbers, the number of hospitalizations and deaths rose again. “Unfortunately, that will also be the case with us. Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021.”

No end in sight

He doesn’t think that by the end of the year you will have the impression that the pandemic is over, he said corona-Expert. In January, Drosten had expressed the hope that Germany could declare the pandemic over in the course of the year. The virologist recommended avoiding infection as much as possible – also because of the risk of Long Covid. “Unfortunately, an infection is inevitable in the long term. And little by little, a mucosal-specific protection is actually forming, which I assume makes the overall population immunity more resilient. »

On the other hand, the virus is also evolving. “I assume that at some point a new equilibrium will settle in: the population’s immunity from vaccinations and infections will eventually be so strong that the virus will become less important. Then we are in the endemic state.” In the worst case, this could “take a few more winters”. A disease is considered endemic if it occurs in a region with a relatively constant number of cases.

dpa