Drosten: Measures are not enough

For weeks, doctors have been calling for the lockdown to be tightened. Does the planned nationwide emergency brake meet the requirements? Christian Drosten is skeptical

Because of the situation in the intensive care units, the virologist Christian Drosten expects that further measures will be necessary in addition to the planned nationwide Corona emergency brake. "I think that you have to react differently based on the situation now setting in the hospitals," said the corona expert from the Berlin Charité on Tuesday in the podcast "Coronavirus Update" at NDR-Info. This must certainly be done "very soon". "I do not expect now that you can control the situation in intensive care medicine," said Drosten with a view to the decision.

The federal cabinet decided on Tuesday to amend the Infection Protection Act. As a result, people in large parts of Germany have to adjust to exit restrictions and closed shops according to binding national guidelines. Next week, the changes will first be decided by parliament and then passed by the Bundesrat - despite clear criticism from some countries and the opposition in the Bundestag.

Temporary deceleration in schools through vacations

About the limited informative value of the corona registration numbers after Easter, Drosten said: "We will probably have to wait until the end of this week to see realistic numbers again." He feared that one would end up in a range between 20,000 and 30,000 new infections reported daily. However, the virologist initially sees a “lasting deceleration effect” for the schools as a result of the Easter break, as he said.

Negative rapid tests do not mean any certainty

Drosten further reminded that one should not be misled after a negative rapid test result. “It's not all as simple as it is sometimes processed argumentatively in politics. According to the motto: Now everything can open because we now have rapid tests. "

In practice, experts found that there was a gap in these tests in the detection of infections in the early phase, said Drosten. Studies on this were still lacking. However, it is observed that the tests only work on most of the contagious days: When testing directly at the onset of symptoms, however, the test can still be negative. In comparison, a laboratory test (PCR) could indicate an infection several days in advance.

Infected people can slip through despite the rapid test

However, Drosten considers the use of rapid tests for people with symptoms and their regular use, for example in school classes and at work, to be justified and sensible. A fresh infection can then be overlooked in individual cases - but it is noticed a few days later. "There is only one thing that is a bit dangerous," he said: the idea of ​​not being contagious when doing the test at the cash register at an event hall or at the porter's lodge at an authority building. Infected people could then slip through and infect other people.

About new studies on variant B.1.1.7 discovered in Great Britain, in which, contrary to earlier data, no evidence of a higher lethality of the variant is seen, Drosten said that this did not completely change the picture for him. Based on its sample, one of the studies can only make statements about cases that were treated with Covid-19 in hospital. Drosten concluded that he would leave the previous studies for the level of the entire population as it was.

People over 60 should not choose vaccine

Drosten described the picky behavior of over 60-year-olds in federal states where you can choose the corona vaccine as a "very bad development". Some of these older people did not want to be vaccinated with Astrazeneca and preferred to wait until they could get the preparation from Biontech / Pfizer.

«You really have to say that in June you will take away a young person's vaccination. And that's really not okay, ”said the virologist. "I don't think it's good when older people are picky about this now." The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) now recommends Astrazeneca for people over 60. The background is rare cases of blood clots in the cerebral veins of younger people.