Ms. Ciesek, easing level 2 has been in effect throughout Hessen since this Thursday – a good sign?
Yes absolutely! The incidences are falling very significantly, as is the number of severe cases that have to be treated in intensive care units. There is therefore scope for careful loosening, which is very good news.
The incidence, the key figure, is falling, but is still almost eight times higher than a year ago. What can be deduced from this?
There is only limited scope for inferring anything from the incidence alone. On the one hand, this value depends heavily on the practical approach to testing, something that has changed since last year. For example, by using rapid antigen tests, tests are carried out more often without cause. The incidence values are therefore not directly comparable with those from the previous year. On the other hand, vaccination also changes the effect that these incidence values have on certain population groups – or, more specifically, how many people actually become seriously ill.
So far, only a little more than a fifth of the people in Hesse have been vaccinated. In view of this and the new looseness, do you fear an increase in new infections soon?
We learned in this pandemic that further local developments are very difficult to foresee. This also depends, among other things, on the spread of new variants of the virus, which differ in important properties. We are therefore currently looking at the new “Delta variant” with concern.
What should be feared if this virus variant spreads heavily in Rhine-Main and Hesse?
One can only speculate today whether this will prevail in Hesse in the foreseeable future and what that means for the incidence values and, above all, the situation in hospitals. Therefore, caution is still required – the threat of an immediate increase in the number of cases cannot be predicted today either.
The vaccination campaign is being held back by reservations about AstraZeneca’s product. Do you understand the people who don’t want this vaccine?
Yes of course. Whether you want to be vaccinated or not is always a very personal decision that everyone has to make for themselves. It is important that people who reject the AstraZeneca vaccine, for example, are well informed about the vaccine and that they take into account the individual risks associated with the infection, as well as the rare risks associated with the vaccination. The benefit of the vaccination usually outweighs the benefits of the vaccination, especially for people over the age of 60.