Doctor Çelik, we talk regularly about your work as a senior physician in the isolation ward for Covid-19 patients at the Darmstadt Clinic. How is the situation?
There is currently one Covid patient in the normal ward, and two patients with severe disease are being treated in the intensive care unit. As expected, there are only a few cases in the hospital this summer. We continue to do sequencing and we have seen more and more cases of the delta variant.
Are there differences in the course of the disease to be observed?
In these few individual cases, no law can be read out, that would be overinterpreted. One should not infer the big picture from individual cases.
If you look at the big picture, there are contradicting reports: Is the delta variant more dangerous or less dangerous?
A look at the rough statistics can be deceptive. In Great Britain there is no statistical distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated. The hospitalization rate is increasing there, but not as much. This is influenced by the mass of vaccinated people among the infected, which is pushing the hospitalization rate down. In states in the United States that have very low vaccination rates – Mississippi and Alabama, for example – death and hospitalization rates are increasing much more markedly. We therefore assume that the delta variant is the most dangerous variant to date for the individual unvaccinated patient. Both for an infection and for a severe course. Recent studies confirm these fears. This has to be clearly separated from the overall impression that a delta wave could turn out relatively lightly for a society in which many people are vaccinated. The risk to an unvaccinated individual is shown less and less in the statistics of a largely vaccinated population, which can lead to a false sense of security. If you are still unvaccinated and are infected with the Delta variant, you have the highest risk of all variants circulating in Germany to date of suffering a severe course.
What can currently still be observed in Great Britain after the measures have been stopped there despite the high incidence?
This is a big experiment that, in my opinion, involves a great deal of risk. I wouldn’t have agreed to this, but I’m excited to see the result. There is a high vaccination rate and almost no measures – that will soon show whether hospital admissions will rise sharply and whether there will be more deaths again. Whatever the outcome, great discoveries will result from this for science. But the risk would be far too high for me.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said of the incidence values that 200 is the new 50. How do you deal with the incidence values?