Germany is entering Covid-19 third wave, warns health expert

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Germany is entering Covid-19 third wave, warns health expert
Police ordering people to wear a mask in Berlin during the recent sunny weather. Photo: DPA

Health expert Karl Lauterbach, of Germany's Social Democrats, says Germany is at the beginning of the third wave due to virus mutations spreading.


After a phase of falling cases, the coronavirus infection rate has been rising in Germany. On Tuesday the number of cases per 100,000 residents in seven days stood at 60.5 - up from an incidence of around 55-57 the previous week.

Lauterbach, who has become a high profile voice on health in Germany during the crisis, said this signalled the start of a third wave - even though Germany has not yet left the shutdown put in place to stem the second wave.

"We are not yet in the middle of the third wave of infections, but it has begun and cannot be stopped," Lauterbach told the Passauer Neue Presse.

Germany's states are aiming to get down to a stable 7-day incidence rate of under 35 cases per 100,000 before more coronavirus restrictions are lifted.


Lauterbach said, "I believe that if we enter the third wave so early now, we will not be able to reach the incidence figure of 35 in many places."

Reopening steps would then have to be pushed back, according to Lauterbach.

The Robert Koch Institute said last week that the Covid variant first discovered in England was responsible for around 22 percent of cases in Germany.

As temperatures creep up in Germany, many may be hopeful that the warmer weather will ease the infection situation.

But Lauterbach said this would not make a difference.

"The problem will not be solved by better weather," he said. "It will not push back the British variant B.1.1.7. The new variants of the virus will prevail."

On the topic of school openings, Lauterbach has urged caution. Most states in Germany allowed some pupils to return to the classroom this week.

"From my point of view, it would make sense to open the schools only if the testing of children with antigen self-tests is guaranteed - and these are not even approved yet," he told the newspapers in the Funke-Mediengruppe.

It must be possible to test children twice a week in alternating classes. That would be the prerequisite for a responsible return to face-to-face teaching, he stressed.

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In view of the concerns about a third coronavirus wave, Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday advocated for a cautious strategy for reopening public life in three stages.

Opening steps have to be introduced wisely, coupled with increased testing, Merkel told her party colleagues.

But any hopes for a quick opening were dampened later by government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

"The good development that gave us daily falling infection figures over a longer period of time is over at the moment. The numbers are rising again," he said.

The share of the British virus variant in cases is 20 to 25 percent - and this will increase, he said.


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Anonymous 2021/02/24 10:20
Please enough of Fearmongering you guys have gained enough popularity by creating fear. at least people shall come out in spring and summer and also vaccinate whoever is ready to take the stocked vaccine which is not being taken in the priority group.
Anonymous 2021/02/23 22:18
Agreed, Keri!! Also, claims that warm weather will not affect the virus are absurd; it did last year, and it also affects other coronaviruses. The British variant mutated this winter and has never existed in warm weather conditions! How does anyone think they know how it will respond to changes in ambient temperature or UV?
  • Anonymous 2021/02/24 06:07
    Excellent point about the weather! I agree. Many German scientists are also saying the gov shouldn't build a re-opening plan based on incidence rates & R values but look what they just put out in advance of next week's meeting? A 4 phase plan based on both of those things! It's a frustrating time for sure...
Anonymous 2021/02/23 16:25
Any insight as to the motivation to extend the lockdown just for the sake of it?
Anonymous 2021/02/23 16:12
Any reason to extend the lockdown!...start peppering the negativity now just in time for the upcoming meeting to decide what (doesn't) happen next. Protect the vulnerable and stop punishing those who are young, healthy and in desperate need of a way out of this badly mismanaged situation. Let's not forget the piles upon piles of vaccines sitting at the airport in Berlin - expiring because there's zero peripheral vision and ability to be policy flexible on behalf of the government.

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