Germany: Lauterbach Slammed for Warning Nation of ‘Killer Variant’ of Coronavirus

The Easter holidays would have been less interesting without the latest discussion that is going on in Berlin. In an interview, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned there could be “a killer variant” of the Coronavirus in fall. It did not take long until virologists criticized him.

Berlin, April 19th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Germans who opened the paper on Easter Sunday read about Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine, about Easter Marches and the weather. The ‘Bild Am Sonntag’ weekly also offered an interview with Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. He said he believed the Corona situation could become more serious again in fall. The Minister also told the publication a return of the mandatory mask rule could become necessary then.

Cause for Concern

In the ‘Bild am Sonntag’ interview, the Minister talked about all aspects of Corona. He said Germany’s Infection Protection Act needed to be revised before the fall. The current version expires on September 23rd, 2022. Asked about immunizations, he stated he expected a vaccine against the Omicron mutation of the virus to be available in five months from now. “We will get vaccine which protects people from the Omicron variant. We expect it in September”, the Minister told ‘Bild am Sonntag’.

Then he got into Omicron more, by saying new subvariants that had been identified were cause for concern. “It is possible that we will have a highly contagious Omicron variant which is just as deadly as Delta. This would be an absolute killer variant”. This sentence spread all over Germany, just like the virus. Lauterbach got criticized for it.

Less Cases Reported

On Twitter, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, a virologist from Hamburg, asked what killer variants Lauterbach had meant. He pointed out that he had not heard about them from the World Health Organization (WHO) or other health authorities. On, Hendrik Streeck, o Professor of Virology in Bonn, commented by saying Lauterbach was spreading panic.

The latest Corona infection numbers in Germany look good, but the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said they needed to be interpreted with caution because of the ongoing Easter holidays. During Easter itself, which ended yesterday, far less Corona infections were reported. To some extent, this will apply as long as the school holidays continue in most federal states.

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Three-Digit Territory

Today, only 22,483 new Coronavirus infections were listed by the RKI. Germany’s Seven Day Incidence dropped down to 669.9. According to the official numbers, there were seven Corona-related deaths since yesterday. This number in particular seems to be low. Everyone wants that number to be low, but before the holidays, 200 to 300 Corona patients died every day, meaning this kind of decrease does not seem to be realistic. All federal states are on three-digit territory in regard to their Incidences. With a level of 357.7, Berlin has the lowest one.

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