Why this professor is afraid of the next corona wave

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From: Sarah Bernhardt

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More and more Covid infections and patients in Frankfurt. But the university clinic fears the next wave of corona for another reason.

Frankfurt – The number of new corona infections in Frankfurt has been increasing again for a few days. The incidence reached a local high of 408 last Saturday. A similar number of new infections was last reported in early August. Yesterday the incidence was again slightly lower at 382, ​​but that is mostly due to the lower number of tests over the weekend. “We do not see the rising incidence as an outlier, but we see a real trend,” explains Christina Benfer, spokeswoman for the GGD, when asked. “So it can be assumed that there will be a new wave.”

There were a total of about 2,000 active cases in Frankfurt yesterday, but a large number of unreported cases can be assumed as not every infected person takes a PCR test and there are also symptom-free courses. So far, 1433 Frankfurters have died of Covid.

Hospitals in Frankfurt already taxed more heavily

According to Benfer, there is a good chance that the health system will come under pressure again in the fall and winter and that there will be increasing staff shortages in other sectors as well. “The employees of so-called critical areas – which of course include hospitals and other healthcare institutions – are affected by this,” says Prof. Jürgen Graf, medical director and chairman of the board of directors of the university hospital.

Graf, who also coordinates the number of corona beds in the Hessian clinics, adds: The increase in the number of cases is already continuing in hospitals – and is visible in both normal and intensive care units. In the Frankfurt clinics, the number of intensive care patients requiring ventilation increased and reached the level of early August with six people. A total of eleven people with Covid were in intensive care in Frankfurt yesterday.

Director of the University Hospital in Frankfurt criticizes the new Infection Protection Act

But also the vaccination with the new vaccines developed against the BA.4 and BA.5 Covid variants currently occurring in Germany has also got off to a good start, according to the health department: about 250 doses are vaccinated every day in the municipal vaccination center in Saxonyhausen. Before the modified vaccines were approved, the average number was around 370 vaccinations per week.

According to the health department, it is not yet possible to predict how the highly contagious variant BA.2.75 will have on the pandemic in Frankfurt. This subtype has a particularly high number of mutations in the spike protein (eight against three in variant BA.5) and is therefore often not recognized by the immune system. How many BA.2.75 infections there have already been is only registered nationally, not locally. In all of Germany, the subvariant is still responsible for less than one percent of infections. So can you save on boosters if it doesn’t prevent infection with subvariants? No, says Reimann. Because there is still a certain protection against heavy courses.

Both clinic director Graf and the health department are criticizing the new infection protection law that came into effect this Saturday. “From a grassroots perspective, of course, individual points are judged differently from the federal legislature,” the agency says, without Benfer going into detail about which points are involved.

New corona rules also lead to problems in Frankfurt

Graf becomes clearer: “It is difficult for healthcare workers to explain why the rules are now becoming stricter for them, as daily life outside the healthcare institutions is increasingly relaxed.” wear FFP2 masks at work and test yourself before going to work. Otherwise, face masks are only mandatory in long-distance public transport.

According to Graf, both measures lead to problems in the clinics: The FFP-2 masks have a higher breathing resistance than surgical masks, which makes the work more strenuous for the employees. In addition, the obligation to test for no reason will “lead to more absences of symptom-free workers”.

Rather than drifting apart the standards for indoor and outdoor vulnerable areas, Graf would appreciate it if people voluntarily wore masks in, for example, public buildings or when shopping. “This is the only way to limit the burden on healthcare and other critical areas.”

Professor Jürgen Gräf of the University Hospital in Frankfurt is angry with federal politics. Because it makes the doctors’ work even more difficult during the next corona wave. © Michael Schick

Frankfurt: health department advises to comply with AHA-L rules

The GGD also advises not to be careless and to continue to comply with the AHA-L rules (distance, washing hands, daily life with a mask and ventilation). “We all benefit from any preventable infection,” Benfer says. “Whether it’s by removing the individual short- and long-term consequences of illness, or by reducing population-relevant consequences, such as the burden on the health system or staff shortages.” (Sarah Bernard)

The Frankfurt University Hospital is not only concerned about Corona, but also about the negotiations with the Verdi union about a new collective labor agreement. Recently, some 4,000 non-medical staff at the university clinic went on strike again.

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