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Germany’s Federal Minister of Health warns about increasing COVID cases ahead of Christmas

Lauterbach issues an urgent call to wear masks again
Lauterbach issues an urgent call to wear masks

In an urgent appeal, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) emphasizes that “Corona remains dangerous” in the winter. He warns the public about the increasing number of cases, especially in the lead-up to Christmas. Lauterbach urges everyone to “wear a mask again,” particularly on buses and trains. As the holiday season approaches, he stresses the need for caution and protective measures during Advent.

Wear mask and avoid Christmas parties

Many individuals have already been affected as the cold wave sets in. Health authorities in Germany assert that the coronavirus continues to be a major contributor to respiratory infections. According to the recent weekly report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), there were 24,000 positive PCR tests reported last week, surpassing previous numbers. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is now addressing the situation with unequivocal words.
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“Corona remains dangerous. It’s not a cold you can safely take every season,” Lauterbach told Bild am Sonntag. “Rather, Corona often also affects blood vessels or weakens the innune system, meaning that far too often it cannot be completely cured.”

Lauterbach is urging individuals to get vaccinated as quickly as possible in the next few days against both flu and corona. The minister advises everyone to “wear a mask again” while using buses and trains. Additionally, he recommends avoiding indoor Christmas parties. For those with the option, staying in a home office instead of working at the office is advised. Lauterbach also suggests a “rapid corona test, if in doubt,” before meeting older or sick individuals.
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Lauterbach calls for corona and flu vaccinations

Follow Karl Lauterbach’s advice for Christmas:

  • Corona test before meeting with “elderly people”
  • Avoid indoor Christmas parties
  • Work from home instaed of the office
  • Vaccination against flu and corona – ideally at the same time
  • Mask on buses and trains

Lauterbach has recently asserted that calculations indicate an impending corona wave. The current incidence is projected to be around 1,700 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. However, there are currently no need for masks, tests, and quarantine as there were in winter 2022.
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Lauterbach is urging individuals to get vaccinated as quickly as possible against both flu and corona
Lauterbach is urging individuals to get vaccinated against both flu and corona

The momentum of the 2023 Corona wave in Germany has been increasing since the fall

Since the end of autumn 2023, respiratory disease figures, as reported by the RKI, have reached record levels. Virologist Isabella Eckerle addressed the current wave of infections on Platform X in early December. In a post, Eckerle recommends measures such as air hygiene, staying home when sick or wearing a mask, respiratory hygiene, hand washing, and the use of FFP2 masks for at-risk individuals or avoiding crowds, emphasizing the importance of vaccination.

Eckerle, an expert in coronaviruses, underscores that Sars-CoV-2 is not akin to common cold viruses, influenza, or RSV (respiratory syncytial virus infections). Grim forecasts for the winter of 2023/24 were already made by doctors in October, with experts expressing concerns about potential chaos in hospitals due to flu-related cases.

Survey shows most people no longer consider Corona a top concern

Many people are no longer fearful of Corona infections, with almost two-thirds expressing little concern about infection during Advent or Christmas, according to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the dpa news agency.
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The survey reveals that 36 percent of respondents are not worried at all about a potential corona infection, while 28 percent are not concerned. On the other hand, 6% express great concern, and 24% feel somewhat worried. When it comes to wearing masks in crowded stores, 8 percent strongly support it, and 15 percent are somewhat in favour, while 69 percent tend to be against it. The poll involved 2,081 participants aged 18 and over and was conducted between December 4-6.

Health minister Karl Lauterbach advises everyone to
Karl Lauterbach advises everyone to “wear a mask again”

FFP2 mask usage is predominantly among the younger demographic

Contrary to the observation, a recent representative INSA survey commissioned by Bild shows a resurgence in the use of FFP2 masks. About 38% of the German population stated that they intend to wear an FFP2 mask occasionally this winter as a precaution against a corona infection. According to the survey, 51% of individuals aged between 18 and 29 are using masks, while only 34% of those over 70 are doing so. The INSA poll gathered responses from 1,004 people between December 7 and 8, 2023.