In order to prepare as best as possible for the next Corona autumn, the Federal Government’s Expert Council has now presented a plan of measures. What other scientists think of it.
The coming autumn could again be accompanied by high infection rates. In order to protect the health system and the population from many severe Covid courses and a high clinical burden, the Federal Government’s Expert Council recommended several measures on Thursday. However, the voices of experts outside the Council are divided.
In general, the Expert Council recommends “forward-looking preparation with short response times” for autumn and winter. In any case, the preparation requires, among other things, “a solid legal basis for infection control measures”. More precisely, the Federal Government plans the following points:
If the infection situation is stable, the tests should be carried out
be limited. According to the Council, there should be a test infrastructure that can be quickly reactivated in the autumn. For hospitals and nursing homes, the council proposes regular screening for corona and flu viruses.
Within six months, the expert council wants to implement several measures to increase the rate of vaccinations and booster vaccinations. These include the following:
According to the committee, which infection protection measures have to be taken depends on how bad the infection situation is developing. To do this, they played through three different scenarios:
Uniformity is also required – namely central coordination of the pandemic measures between the federal and state governments and nationwide communication of all existing regulations and recommendations as quickly and uniformly as possible. The experts also advocate that outpatients receive antiviral drugs earlier than previously.
“The plan is good and reflects the current state of knowledge,” epidemiologist Timo Ulrichs assesses the measures presented when asked by FOCUS Online. Unfortunately, this status is still very limited. “While it is clear that another wave of the pandemic is coming, what impact it will have is uncertain,” he said. For example, there are ambiguities on the question of serious illnesses and deaths, as well as other long-Covid cases and the direct and indirect burden on the healthcare system.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know how serious the effects are, so the best possible and experience-based preparation would be advisable,” explains Ulrichs. That is exactly what the plan suggests. “We should prepare all measures for a quick reinstatement, i.e. wearing masks, keeping your distance and so on.” He also finds it gratifying that communication is given a lot of space.
Ulrichs only has one point to complain about: “The fact that too little attention and emphasis is given to the most important preparation in the run-up to the autumn and winter season: namely an intensive vaccination campaign for initial and booster vaccinations.”
“It all sounds very sensible,” said Hamburg intensive care physician Stefan Kluge positively on Twitter about the measures presented. He was “curious” how much of it will be implemented.
But not all experts are satisfied with the plan.
For example, statistician Gerd Antes criticized the preparations for the fall on Twitter. “Wanting to write measures into law without having evaluated them is of course an oath of disclosure,” he wrote there. He is addressing a point that the German Medical Association has also sharply criticized: there is a lack of data.
“In the last two and a half years we have experienced a real data blind flight, which was not a good basis for rational decisions,” said Doctor President Klaus Reinhardt of the Funke media group on Thursday. The occupancy of hospital and intensive care beds can only be realistically forecast if there is clarity about the actual course of infection. The federal government should therefore adopt the advice of its experts and finally systematically collect and evaluate data on infection dynamics, disease severity and the burden on the health system, he explained.
Similar to Reinhardt, the chairman of the board of the German Hospital Society (DKG), Gerald Gass, made a statement. He called on politicians in the “Rheinische Post” and in the editorial network Germany (RND) to clarify the question of who will bear the costs for the necessary IT investments.