Christian Drosten, head of the virology department at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, predicts a very high level incidence of coronavirus in Germany after the summer holidays. “I hope that the school holidays will somewhat slow down the growth in the number of cases. But I’m afraid that from September we will have a very large number of infected people,” Germany’s chief virologist expressed such concerns in an interview with the weekly Der Spiegel, published on Thursday evening, June 23. If nothing is done, he noted, in German companies there will be a lot of cases of absenteeism of employees due to illness.
“In fact, we are already seeing an exponential rise in the number of new cases,” Drosten warned. As he recalled, the variant of “omicron” – subtype BA.5 – very contagious, and at the same time people lose immunity to coronavirusobtained from the last vaccination. “In general, however, far fewer patients will become seriously ill and die than in 2021,” the doctor believes. He said he does not believe that by the end of the year people will have the impression that the pandemic is over.
In the worst case, the process may “drag out for a few more winters”
Meanwhile, back in January, Drosten expressed hope that Germany would be able to announce the end of the pandemic within a year. The virologist recommended, if possible, to beware of infection – in order to avoid a protracted covid. “However, unfortunately, in the long term, infection is inevitable. At the same time, mucosal immunity is gradually forming, which, I believe, will make herd immunity more stable,” he stressed.
On the other hand, the virus also evolves, the virologist recalled. “I believe that at some point a new equilibrium will be established: herd immunity as a result of vaccination and infection will eventually become so strong that the virus will lose its pathogenicity,” Drosten shared his thoughts and suggested that in the worst case, this process may “drag on for a few more winters”, while virus it will not become endemic, that is, it will not go anywhere, but it will be under control.