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Germans fear COVID infections again as cases rise

July 15, 2022

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has said everyone should consider a second booster shot as the number of coronavirus infections and people in intensive care increases.

A man has a COVID-19 test at a test station in Berlin
While recorded cases are rising, the number is likely higher as many people no longer take official PCR testsImage: Stefan Zeitz/Xinhua/picture alliance

The share of people in Germany who are worried about the threat of COVID-19 has increased to 40%, according to a poll published Friday by German broadcaster ZDF.

The growing concern — up from a share of 30% in May and 34% in June — comes as coronavirus cases rise once again. The number of recorded cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days reached almost 720 on Friday.

Experts believe the number is likely higher since many of those infected are no longer taking official PCR tests.

With the rise in cases, as well as the rise in patients needing intensive care, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said in an interview with the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel on Friday that he recommends everyone talk to their doctor about the option of getting a second booster vaccine.

Second booster protections

The EU earlier in the week recommended booster vaccines for all people aged over 60. Germany has been giving second booster shots to over-70s already.

But the health minister would also "recommend the vaccine to young people if agreed with their family physician."

He told the magazine that a second booster gives "a quite different security" since it significantly reduces the risk of infection for several months as well as reducing the risk of getting long COVID.

For the over-60s, Lauterbach emphasized that already existing vaccines offer reliable protection and warned them against waiting for vaccines that are designed specifically for the omicron variant.

Looking to fall and winter

German Bundestag President Bärbel Bas said that despite the growing number of infections, she imagines the fall months will be relatively calm.

But, she added, that would depend on "whether we get variants in fall that cause worse effects than omicron."

"If not, then we should just say, if you're sick stay home. Just like we do to sensibly deal with any other disease," she told the Spiegel on Friday.

Bas brought up the possibility of bringing back mask mandates in winter and said a fourth vaccine would make sense for more people then. Several companies are working on vaccines that target the omicron variant specifically and these are expected before the end of the year.

ab/sms (AFP, dpa)