The days of sunshine are increasing, the number of cases is decreasing: the corona virus seems to have been almost forgotten. But the pandemic is not over yet, experts warn. They are already calling for preparations to be made for the fall.
The corona numbers in Germany have been falling for weeks. Among other things, rising temperatures and many sunny days ensure that the falls decrease. That’s what experts predicted. But that’s not the end of the corona pandemic, scientists emphasize. They are already calling for arrangements to be made for the coming autumn.
“At the moment it’s similar to the Bundesliga or the Schauspielhaus: We’re on a summer break right now,” says Thorsten Lehr, an expert in corona forecasts, assessing the current situation. There will be more returnees this year than in the previous year – “and that means that we can expect the number of cases to increase again by the end of the summer holidays at the latest.”
The Braunschweig epidemiologist Berit Lange has a similar view. The scientist from the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research told the newspapers of the Funke media group that it was unclear which variant of the virus would then prevail. It is therefore just as unclear what this means for the proportion of severe courses in the unvaccinated and vaccinated – or how heavily the health system is burdened.
And RKI boss Wieler was already alarmed by the development after the summer. He said at the weekend that probably all scientists “who are really serious and well-founded, i.e. with specialist knowledge, dealing with this pandemic assume that the numbers will rise again in autumn.” Incidences will rise again. “But what we don’t know – and that’s the great unknown – is which disease the virus will cause.”
According to Lehr, there are three scenarios for the further course of the pandemic:
Three factors also determined what happened after the summer:
In order to be prepared for the scenarios, scientists are calling for safety precautions to be taken now. It is important that “one prepares for the fall now and is not surprised again that a new pandemic may break out,” says modeler Lehr. The best thing to do is to prepare “for the worst case scenario”. Because: “You have to be able to react then. Then we cannot start to rebuild the vaccination centers. The logistics have to be in place.”
However, the current version of the Infection Protection Act, which would make certain measures legal, expires on September 23rd. The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, therefore called for a new “anti-corona plan”. He told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” that an adjustment to the Infection Protection Act was necessary “so that containment measures can be introduced when the situation gets serious, and uniformly nationwide”.
As a last resort, “the possibility of a lockdown must also be anchored,” says Montgomery. “It would be negligent not to put this tool in the toolbox, even if we have to do everything we can to never have to take it out again,” he said. Other instruments included the obligation to wear masks in public spaces through to distance rules and contact restrictions.
However, modeler Lehr assumes that Germany can survive the next winter without a lockdown. “I do believe that we can get by well with what we have learned and with the immune protection.” Politicians are now relying on personal responsibility. “If we’re lucky, it’ll be harmless.” But: You have to be prepared, even if it’s quite possible “that we’ll get away with a black eye”.
We are now in a kind of “Covid 2.0” phase, says Lehr. “We are now at the moment where everyone has to protect themselves.” It is important not to forget the basic rules when dealing with the pandemic. Simple things like masks, hygiene and distance worked very well. “We have arrived at a new stage of the pandemic”.