Berlin (dpa) – The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) considers an enormous reduction in the number of cases necessary because of the still unclear consequences of corona mutations.
RKI boss Lothar Wieler called on Thursday in Berlin that more people should work in the home office to protect against infection. “Working from home now protects the health of all of us – we need even more responsible employers for that,” said Wieler. Because of the risk of bringing in mutated and more contagious variants of corona, he resorted to unnecessary travel.
The microbiologist and veterinarian warned that at this point, measures to reduce contact must be applied “with all consistency” to reduce the number of infections. After that, the numbers should be kept at a low level – there was no other way. “We will have this pandemic under control by the end of this year,” said Wieler.
In addition to exemplary employers who would have made it possible to work from home, there are also companies whose employees still drive to the office or where face-to-face meetings take place with several participants, although working from home is in principle possible there.
Wieler emphasized that every infection is one too many. “Please stay at home as much as possible.” Always and everywhere it is important to observe the rules regarding distance, hygiene, everyday masks and ventilation. The effectiveness of the measures is shown by the very low number of cases of other respiratory infections compared to previous years. But it is important that people implement the measures consistently.
“If it’s not absolutely necessary, you shouldn’t be traveling right now,” said Wieler, referring to the widespread use of new Corona variants in other countries. As of Wednesday, all currently known evidence of these variants had been supplied by travelers in Germany. It is not yet possible to estimate how the variants will affect the situation in this country. “But you can also triumph here and lead to even more cases in a shorter time.” There is a possibility that the situation will get worse.
According to Wieler, there are no indications that the variants are widespread in this country. However, he admitted, “We don’t have a complete overview of the variants.” According to a “Handelsblatt” report citing the RKI, about 200 to 250 genomes were examined for mutations in Germany in December – far fewer than in Britain and Denmark, for example. But now more variants must also be sought in Germany. A Corona variant had spread very quickly in Great Britain of late. A variant discovered in South Africa is also currently in focus.
The RKI boss was referring to the high workload in healthcare, especially in intensive care units. “Intensive medical care in Germany has probably never been more busy than it is now.” In intensive care units, the average age of the patients is sometimes under 60 years. More and more young people are affected by the high number of infections. The best possible care for the sick can no longer be guaranteed nationally.