Chiara Schlenz and Johannes Hillig
Summer, sunshine and a lack of measures against the coronavirus – the pandemic seems almost forgotten. The virus has yet to disappear, as seen in Portugal, for example. There, the hope for a crownless summer is overshadowed by soaring cases.
Today, more than 30,000 new infections are registered every day, the 7-day incidence has almost tripled since early May, and virologists are warning of nearly 60,000 new cases each day.
Blame it on: the omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warn of a renewed increase in cases, variants already on the list of “worrying variants”.
No more hard cases
Also in Germany, there is an increase in both BA.4 and BA.5 in several regions. Is the summer wave getting closer to Switzerland? Possible! “A new wave of infections cannot be ruled out in the summer months, given the new sub-options,” says Simone Buchmann of the Federal Office of Public Health.
Thus, an overall increase in the number of infections and local outbreaks of infection is possible. This could have consequences especially for unvaccinated, especially vulnerable people.
However, BAG is not expecting a summer of measures like 2020. Buchmann on Blick: “We are currently not assuming that new variants of the virus will require further measures. We also do not expect the new sub-options to put a heavy burden on the healthcare system across Switzerland. ‘ Because: “In highly resistant populations it does not appear to lead to more severe cases than BA.1 or BA.2.”
The head of World Doctors calls for good preparation for fall
Thanks to mutations in the spike protein, the new variants can bypass the immune response more efficiently than the previous variants, but former Basel physician Thomas Steffen, 61, sees no reason to worry. “According to the current state of knowledge, the variants are no more dangerous than the current dominant Omicron variant.” Steffen also believes that growth is possible during the summer. But he thinks a wave is unlikely. However, he also does not see a new blockade or a tightening of measures that will come our way.
It sounds different than in Germany: World Medical Association president Frank Ulrich Montgomery (70) warned against the spread of the BA.5 omicron variant in Germany due to the increasing number of corona infections in Portugal. “The crown is not over yet, as evidenced by the sudden omicron explosion in Portugal,” Montgomery told the Rheinische Post.
More on the new BA.5 sub-option
“The toolbox must be defined and upheld in the Infection Protection Act: from the obligation to wear a mask to the lockout – uniformly and clearly regulated throughout the country,” he demanded. “The wiser we act now, the less drastic measures we need in fall and winter. Wear the mask voluntarily wherever there are many people meeting. Vaccinations, now more than ever. And don’t trade your freedom for the sake of security, ”Montgomery said.