Because of the Omicron variant, hospitals in Lower Saxony are preparing for an increase in Corona patients. "The primary goal is to be able to maintain sufficient capacity and staff to care for patients at all times during the upcoming wave of Omicron," explained a spokesperson for the Lower Saxony Hospital Association. However, he said, employees in Lower Saxony's hospitals are already under great strain.
At present, it is difficult to say what will ultimately be the real burden on staff in Lower Saxony's hospitals. "It is currently difficult to assess what concrete impact the spread of the Omicron variant will have on the burden on hospitals in the coming weeks," the spokesman continued.
Currently, incidence numbers in Lower Saxony are increasing mainly because of the corona variant. Omicron has prevailed over the delta mutation as the predominant corona variant since the beginning of the week in Lower Saxony. Most recently, WHO warned not to underestimate the "mild course" of Omicron. Also, when virologist Hendrik Streeck expressed cautious optimism about a Corona end. The World Health Organization recalled that the Corona variant "Omicron kills people."
Two scenarios are possible. According to these, the rapid spread of the omicron variant could lead to more and more patients having to be hospitalized, placing a heavy burden on the healthcare system. It is precisely to avoid this scenario that hospitals are preparing for the worst. In addition, booster vaccination against Corona does not protect against the Omicron variant in the long term, he said.
On the other hand, the Omicron variant also offers the chance that the spread of the mutant will relieve the burden on the healthcare system. Overall, the course of the disease would be milder with omicron than with the Delta variant. With more people infected, the health care system would not be burdened even more than it already is.
The latter, he said, has already been seen in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where incidence is skyrocketing but Corona measures are not being tightened. There, the Omicron variant has already resulted in more than 150,000 new infections per day, but the hospitalization rate has remained at about the same level, he said. The Omicron variant already accounts for more than 70 percent of all Corona infections, he said.
Regardless, staff in Lower Saxony's hospitals need to be relieved of bureaucratic tasks as soon as possible to reduce utilization, a spokesman for the hospital association said. Virologist Christian Drosten considers a Corona study on the course of the Omicron variant to be "groundbreaking" in the Corona pandemic, although the virologist already emphasized in an interview with the South German Newspaper that "Omicron makes the rules."
In the meantime, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Health has once again issued a decree advising the vaccination teams of the municipal health offices of the option of booster vaccinations for adolescents. The recommendation regarding Corona booster vaccinations refers to adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age.
Booster vaccination of adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age in Lower Saxony: "There is no reason to deny booster vaccination"
"From our perspective, there is absolutely no reason to deny booster vaccination to adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. On the contrary, in view of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, I am convinced that we should offer booster vaccination to as many Lower Saxonians as possible," says Lower Saxony's Health Minister Daniela Behrens in connection with the third Corona vaccination.
Image by Silas Camargo SilÃ£o