Berlin (dpa) – To stem the corona pandemic in Germany, virologist Christian Drosten has spoken out for rapid tightening of state requirements.
“It is true that we absolutely have to do something now,” said the Charité scientist in the latest “Coronavirus Update” at NDR-Info. Chances are that the Christmas period will lead to an increase in the number of cases. If no adjustment is made now, a lockdown “at the end of January and after all of February” threatens with enormous consequences for the economy.
Drosten is one of the experts who contributed to a statement published Tuesday by the National Science Academy Leopoldina. It recommends using the holidays and New Year for a hard lockdown. From December 24 to at least January 10, “public life would be largely empty throughout Germany”. As early as December 14, contacts should be reduced to an “absolute minimum”. Drosten said that during the lockdown in the spring, contacts in Germany decreased by 63 percent, but currently it is only 43 percent. “That’s just not enough.”
The Leopoldina paper should perhaps be taken as a “clear and final warning from science,” said Drosten. If politicians decide otherwise, they will no longer opt for science. Among others, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, and the chairman of the Helmholtz Association, Otmar Wiestler, are mentioned below the statement. From the point of view of experts, the number of new infections is still too high despite the partial lockdown that has been taking place since the beginning of November.
According to Drosten, families who live far apart may not necessarily need to visit each other during the holidays this year. He also confirmed that rapid tests are just a snapshot: “If you want to use such antigen tests for family visits, you should actually test yourself with them every morning.” Drosten has long been advising people to put themselves in quarantine as a precaution before visiting their grandparents, for example.
According to the virologist, not everything in schools can continue as before. Something needs to be done there in terms of organization. The scientists involved in the statement were under the impression of a serious school situation, Drosten said. There is a “significant infection rate there”. Data from England showed that, especially in the cohorts above primary school, more infections occurred than in the normal population. “If you want to let it go somewhere, it’s primary school and kindergarten,” says Drosten. But he wanted to be “anything but a preacher for school closures.”
In view of the start of the school in January, the Leopoldina recommends making mouth and nose protection mandatory for all grades. In addition, uniform national rules for alternating education – ie with presence in the classroom and digital – should be developed in secondary schools, which should take effect from a certain contamination level. Drosten suggested dividing classes in the podcast.