More cases recorded, more outbreaks in nursing homes and increasing numbers of patients in intensive care units: Omicron sublines that are easier to transmit are driving the corona summer wave in Germany. As expected, the BA.5 pathogen is now also predominant in Germany according to official data. The proportion in a sample is 50 percent, according to the weekly report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Covid-19 on Thursday evening. However, the information relates to the week before last, and higher values ​​can currently be assumed.

The virologist Christian Drosten expects a very high number of new corona cases after the summer holidays in Germany. “I hope that the school holidays will slow down the increase in the number of cases. But from September, I’m afraid we will have very high case numbers,” said the head of the virology department at the Berlin Charité in an interview published on Thursday evening. If nothing is done, there will be “a great many absences due to illness” in working life.

“We are actually seeing an exponential increase in the number of cases again,” warned Drosten. “The BA.5 variant is simply very transmissible, and at the same time people lose their transmission protection from the last vaccination.” In other countries, one can see that with very high case numbers, the number of hospitalizations and deaths also rose again.

“Unfortunately, that will be the case for us too. Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021. ”The virologist reveals in the interview that he sometimes no longer wears a mask at the bakery.

The RKI weekly report states that the burden on the health care system, especially in the intensive care area, has increased again slightly in the past week.

According to the Divi intensive care register, the number of corona infected people treated there has been increasing again for a few days: After a good 600 patients at the beginning of the month, it was 810 as of Thursday. For comparison: At the height of the pandemic in the winter months, there were sometimes several thousand at the same time.

In the case of the sub-line BA.5, an approximate doubling of the proportion was observed in the random samples every week. This is no longer quite achieved, as the RKI report shows: the proportion grew from 32 to around 50 percent in a weekly comparison. In other sublines of Omikron (BA.2.12.1 and BA.4) increasing proportions are also observed, but at a lower level of six percent each.

The RKI speaks of an increase in the seven-day incidence of 23 percent compared to the previous week. “The number of outbreaks in old people’s and nursing homes as well as in medical treatment facilities has increased compared to the previous week.”

In view of the development, the RKI continues to call for compliance with the recommendations for avoiding infection: keep your distance, observe hygiene rules, wear a mask, ventilate and use the Corona warning app. Vaccination has not lost its importance “due to its high protective effect against a severe course” even in diseases caused by omicron.

Since the advent of Omicron, it has recorded a lower proportion of serious illnesses and a lower number of deaths related to Covid-19 than previous variants such as Delta. According to the report, this does not seem to change for the time being: Epidemiological data available to date “does not suggest that infections with BA.2.12.1, BA.4 or BA.5 cause more severe disease progressions or proportionately more deaths” than infections with the previous ones common sublines BA.1 and BA.2.

However, the RKI “strongly” recommends avoiding contact with new symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or coughing and contacting your family doctor if necessary – regardless of the vaccination status and even if the rapid test result is negative.