The number of corona infections is increasing. But how should politicians react to this? The Ministry of Health is already working on the next vaccination campaign. Others, on the other hand, see no reason to panic.

After the renewed increase in corona infections, a controversy arose about how to proceed in the summer.

While Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) speaks of a summer wave and expects little relaxation in the coming weeks, some experts currently do not consider the corona incidences to be relevant. There are also different opinions on the preservation of the regional vaccination centers over the summer.

“We can’t afford another autumn where we’re as prepared as last autumn,” said Lauterbach at the 17th National Industry Conference on the Health Economy in Rostock. The SPD politician had previously commented on RTL/ntv and said that although there was no reason to panic, after the number of deaths would increase again in the future.

RKI: New omicron sublines are currently in the majority

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the omicron sublines, which have been increasing proportionally for a few weeks, are already dominant. “The strong growth of BA.4 and BA.5 in particular, but also BA.2.12.1, suggests that these variants currently already make up the majority of the evidence,” says the RKI weekly report on Sars-CoV-2 . It is based on evaluations of virus variants.

This data in the report always refers to the week before last: BA.5 made up around 24 percent of the positive samples in a random sample at the time, which again corresponds to around a doubling of the value from the previous week. BA.4 and BA.2.12.1 were both around four percent. Because of the greater spread compared to the previously dominant pathogens, these variants could contribute to a renewed increase in the number of infections, it said.

In the development of the seven-day incidence, the RKI speaks of a significant increase of around one third for the past week compared to the previous week. All age groups are affected. More outbreaks in old people’s and nursing homes and in medical treatment facilities have also been recorded again. “With the further increase in the number of infections, a renewed increase in infection pressure on vulnerable groups of people is to be expected.” An RKI map showing the development of the infection process shows many districts with an increased number of cases, especially in north-west Germany.

Check booster vaccinations and extend them if necessary

The Ministry of Health is therefore working on a vaccination campaign for the coming months. There is a close exchange with the manufacturers about new vaccines. “We expect these vaccinations at the end of August, probably in mid-September,” announced the minister. In addition, functioning test concepts would also be required. The Greens health politician Janosch Dahmen advised in the “Rheinische Post” to review the recommendations for booster vaccinations and expand them if necessary.

Expert Klaus Stöhr, who is a member of the expert committee for the scientific assessment of the state corona restrictions, is relaxed about the current increase and spoke of “irrelevant reporting incidences”. You have to pay attention to the development in the hospitals, he said in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”. “And we don’t really see any increase there. But on the contrary. The situation is as relaxed as one could hope for in the summer. And nothing will change dramatically about that,” said Stöhr.

“I’m not that interested in the number of infections”

The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, also sees no reason to panic. “As long as the burden of disease does not increase massively, I am not so interested in the number of infections, which are not recorded correctly anyway,” Gassen told the “Ärzte Zeitung”.

The further timetable for dealing with the corona vaccination centers is also a topic of discussion. The patient officer of the federal government, Stefan Schwartze, pleads for their preservation over the summer even with the current low rush. Now reducing all structures and then starting again in autumn is not the right solution. “I urge caution at every point,” said Schwartze.

The German Association of General Practitioners, on the other hand, considers keeping open to be dispensable. “The vaccination centers are empty across Germany,” said President Ulrich Weigeldt of the editorial network Germany. “Why they should now continue to be operated throughout the summer is not at all clear.” That costs a lot of money that is needed elsewhere. The family doctors have proven that vaccinations are best kept in practices.