Virologist: “Poor data makes it difficult to relax decisions”

Status: 01/31/2022 1:25 p.m

According to the virologist Schmidt-Chanasit, the poor data situation in Germany makes decisions about easing more difficult. It is still not known reliably how many people are neither vaccinated nor recovered, he said tagesschau24.

Against the background of the debate about easing the corona measures in Germany, the virologist Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit criticized the poor data situation in Germany. In order to be able to take easing steps, it is important to observe the dynamics of the pandemic. In some federal states, for example in Bremen, you can already see a break in dynamics, which is a good sign, said the expert from Universität Hamburg tagesschau24-Interview. A stable data situation is just as important. “Unfortunately, we’re going in circles here in Germany. The data quality isn’t particularly good. In this respect, it’s still very difficult to make such a far-reaching decision at this point in time.”

For example, one cannot reliably say how large the immunity gap is at the moment – i.e. the proportion of people who are neither vaccinated nor recovered. A high proportion of vaccinated and recovered is important to prevent the health system from being overloaded. “But this is exactly where important data was missing.”

Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, virologist at the University of Hamburg, on the current corona situation

tagesschau24 11:00 a.m., 31.1.2022

Protect vulnerable groups

Schmidt-Chanasit judged the PCR prioritization to be correct. Since Omikron has increased the infection pressure to such an extent that all infections can no longer be diagnosed and traced, it is important to now concentrate on the groups that are particularly at risk.

Scientific data has shown that omicron causes milder courses in the average population compared to delta. But you have to see that in perspective: for people with cancer or with a suppressed immune system, for example, Omikron can also have serious consequences. “And the higher the infection rate in the population, the higher the probability that these particularly vulnerable people will contract the coronavirus and they may not be as well protected by the vaccine. That’s why we still have strict measures in many areas “, explained the virologist.

Masks and tests in sensitive areas are still important

Schmidt-Chanasit does not understand the shortening of the recovered status to three months. “From a scientific point of view, we ask ourselves: What is the goal? But probably to prevent the health system from being overloaded. But that cannot justify the reduction in the convalescent status.” This would only work if you said you wanted to prevent any infections. “But that wasn’t the goal in Germany.” So it is still important to answer these and other questions related to the pandemic. For example, whether those who have been vaccinated twice and who have recovered still need a booster. “Basically, they have already received the booster updated to Omikron.”

The virologist assumes that certain measures will be important in addition to vaccination even if the situation eases in the future: “For example, masks or tests in particularly endangered areas such as old people’s and nursing homes.”

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