The omicron variant of the coronavirus will cause a “massive” fifth wave of infections, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach expects.
According to the epidemiologist, the new wave is now unavoidable and represents “an enormous challenge for our hospitals, for our intensive care units, but also for society as a whole,” he said in Hanover.
Even if the disease symptoms after an omicron infection are milder than with other variants, there is still an unprecedented challenge, according to Lauterbach. The number of deaths may remain relatively low for two to three weeks, but the increase in the number of infections will take its toll after that, he is convinced.
Looking ahead to Christmas, the minister appealed to all Germans to take each other into account when travelling. Everyone should be tested beforehand or at least take one or more self-tests. However, the minister made it clear once again that caution is advised, especially for people who have not yet had a booster shot.
Things are going fast with the eastern neighbours in that regard. On Wednesday, almost 1.5 million corona shots were taken, a daily record. In almost 1.3 million cases, it was a booster shot. Seven out of ten Germans have been fully vaccinated, and about 28 percent have received a booster shot. Unfortunately, vaccination coverage is relatively low in the east and south of the country.
Given the pace of the booster campaign, there was a threat of a vaccine shortage, but it was announced on Thursday that Germany would receive millions of corona vaccines from Moderna early. This month, Berlin will receive 10 million doses, and another 25 million will follow in the first quarter. These deliveries account for 70 million booster shots. Other EU countries that fear shortages can also expect additional shipments.