Will Corona end after Omicron? Four future scenarios for fall and winter

Will we really be able to return to the old normality of two years ago in a few weeks? At least the proposed resolution by the federal and state governments to withdraw all “far-reaching measures” gradually by March 20. For the first time, the Federal Government’s Council of Experts also advocates a possible mitigation in the near future.

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But that doesn’t mean everything suddenly goes back to its pre-Corona state. A few days ago, British crown researcher Prof. Christina Pagel of University College London stressed that it is impossible to stick to “return to normal”. on her Twitter account: “We have a new disease in our population that is more contagious and severe than the flu. The pre-2020 world doesn’t exist anymore – we might want to, but it just doesn’t. ”

This is what the Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach believes. “We have an additional virus that will not go away, it is more contagious and dangerous than the flu,” said ARD talk show Anne Will on Sunday. The idea that, according to Omikron, it is becoming more and more harmless, that there will be a cold soon – is “a very dangerous legend”. “It may be like that in 30 or 40 years – but not in the next ten years,” emphasized Lauterbach.

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He cited the latest results of a study by British scientists. In mid-February, the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergency Situations (SAGE) identified possible scenarios for the near future with the coronavirus. New variants will appear for everyone in the next 12-18 months. Immunological protection in the population is also crucial.

“Neither of these scenarios is good,” said Lauterbach. “We just have to face the truth. The world has gotten a bit worse because of the coronavirus. ” In particular, there are four scenarios that researchers found realistic in their report – based on the UK:

1) Best Screenplay

There will be a weak corona wave in fall and winter with fewer seriously ill people than in Delta and Omicron.

At least one new variant will be released in the coming months. However, they do not bring with them new, more problematic properties. They are neither more portable nor deadly. Immune protection after vaccination and / or infection is only minimally neglected. There are only a few outbreaks left, due to the declining resilience of the population and new variants. However, booster vaccines remain effective and are offered annually to those most at risk of severe Covid-19 to improve their immune protection. Medicines are also effective.

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2) Optimistic trend

Waves of infection develop in fall and winter, sometimes more like omicrons, sometimes more delta-like.

Resilience is increasing among people around the world, which generally leads to less severe Covid-19 courses. However, waves of infection continue to occur due to a sharp decline in immunity over time and / or the emergence of new variants. There are good years when the variant resembles the Omicron. But there are also bad years when the circular variant is more like Delta. Either way, there are seasonal waves of infection with multiple infections in fall and winter.

Coming soon to easing Corona measures? This is what the board of experts says

The Federal Government’s Board of Experts believes that under certain conditions it is possible to relax the coronation measures in the coming weeks.

Elderly people, people with pre-existing illnesses and people without prior immune protection through vaccination / infection are then particularly affected by death and severe disease. Vaccines are regularly updated and offered to the weakest each year. Voluntary protection measures, such as wearing a mask, also remain important for the entire population. Drugs don’t work that well.

3) Pessimistic scenario

Suddenly, a disturbing new variant appears and causes a large wave of infections that can appear as early as spring and summer. First of all, unvaccinated, elderly and high-risk people become seriously ill and die.

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Unpredictable new variants continue to emerge as morbidity remains high worldwide while human immunity is increasing. It can also happen several times a year. Compared to Omicron, the virus becomes even more infectious and bypasses the immune system more and more, and can sometimes also cause serious diseases such as delta wave. Updated vaccines and infections continue to provide good protection against death and particularly severe courses.

However, repeated waves of infection with multiple failures affect, for example, critical infrastructure and the daily school life of children. Each year, large sections of the population must be supplied with adapted vaccines. Most drugs are no longer good. A flu wave can also occur at the same time as a corona wave, putting a heavy burden on the healthcare system. Part of the population relies on voluntary protective behavior in phases with high frequency of occurrence, for example with masks, distance, fewer contacts. Sometimes government action is also needed.

4) Worst case

A large part of the population is experiencing a strong wave of increasingly severe infections. Those who are most at risk are those who are not vaccinated.

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Several new variants are emerging worldwide, including recombinations of previous virus strains. This is possible thanks to the numerous infections around the world and, in general, too few vaccinated people worldwide. The pathogen also circulates and thrives in the animal kingdom. Not all variants are equally disturbing. But some clearly elude the immune protection provided by vaccination and infection. The virus is also developing new strategies to make people sick. Younger people can also become seriously ill and die, which can have long-term health consequences.

The entire population must receive a variant vaccination at least once a year. Existing medications no longer work well. You can also imagine that the previous tests don’t work as well anymore. Social conflicts occur and voluntary measures such as wearing a mask and restricting contacts are largely lacking. Again, many government measures are needed to contain the virus.

Also in Germany: corona waves can be imagined in the fall

Experts for Germany are also discussing similar scenarios as in Great Britain. The federal government’s board of experts advocates preparing for the next waves in the future. According to the commission, how long the new phase of the pandemic that heralded the end of the omicron wave will last from March depends on many factors, such as vaccination rates and the spread of new virus variants, and therefore “cannot be accurately predicted,” reads the latest Report.

“There is a risk of renewed infection waves by fall at the latest,” writes the expert council. Delta could then, for example, re-circulate and cause new waves of infection. According to the current state of knowledge, an initial infection with Omikron without vaccination does not reliably protect against infections with other variants. It is impossible to predict which scenario is the most likely. We will see how the virus continues to develop.

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