The lockdown for the unvaccinated is effective: the case of Germany. Here’s how it works

Andreas Rentz via Getty Images

BONN, GERMANY – DECEMBER 14: A woman receives a red wristband after having her vaccination status and identity checked by a member of security at a control booth at Muensterplatz Christmas Market during the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic on December 14, 2021 in Bonn, Germany. The wristband eliminates the need for individual checks in retail shops and at the Christmas Market. Countries in Central Europe are struggling to rein in Covid infection rates that have skyrocketed in recent weeks, in many cases to record levels. Germany announced a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Omicron does not stop. In Europe, the wave of infections goes fast and causes countries such as England and France to touch and exceed 100 thousand cases a day. In Italy, the regions are once again experiencing the worsening of intensive care while, to increase vaccination coverage, the distance of administration of the third vaccine dose from the second is shortened.

There are two countries, however, where the cases are on the decline. They are Austria and Germany, where the provisions of the “lockdown for the unvaccinated” announced by Vienna and Berlin from the second half of November are in force. In Germany, the daily number of new Covid cases has in fact gone from almost 74,000 to 10,100, a fifth compared to the beginning of December, when it stood at around 50,000 per day. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the weekly incidence reached 220.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 315.4 last week. And the total number of deaths corresponds to 110,364. While in Austria the positives recorded at Christmas are 1,717, when a month and a half ago they were 15 thousand.

In Austria, as of November 15, 2021, anyone who is not vaccinated cannot access most public places, including restaurants, hotels, theaters and ski resorts. Since then, the country had declared a two-week national lockdown, which ended on December 5, 2021. But the new chancellor Karl Nehammer confirmed that nothing would change for the unvaccinated. In fact, they can still leave the house only for essential reasons. In Germany it is the same: only those vaccinated and cured of Covid can access restaurants, cinemas, cultural events, museums and non-essential shops, following the 2G rule, ie “geimpft” or “genesen” (vaccinated or cured). Non-immunized people can only go to the supermarket or pharmacy and go out for essential reasons related to their work.

The measures were implemented in the two countries to prevent the return to closed restaurants and gyms, and to try not to block the work of the shops in the middle of the Christmas period. Furthermore, to raise the share of the vaccinated population, which in Germany is about 70% and in Austria just over 71%.

The risk of reaching 100,000 cases per day, as in England and France, is real for Italy. This was supported by virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco, professor at the State University of Milan: “In this pandemic period, close contacts between relatives and friends will have an effect that we will see in the next fifteen days, when the schools will also reopen, we could reach over 100 thousand daily infections “. Analyzing the current epidemiological situation, Pregliasco has sided with the experts who see the lockdown only for the unvaccinated as a strategy to slow down the Omicron race. “Today with Omicron the attempt must be to mitigate the spread of the virus and spread the increase in cases over time, avoiding hospitals from going haywire,” he explained. “At this point for those 10% of Italians who have not yet vaccinated today there is a very high risk of infection, so a lockdown could be considered, just for them, perhaps limited to fifteen days. In Germany it worked very well and today hospitals are breathing ”.

In Italy, some regional presidents said they were in favor of the possible adoption of a restriction similar to that of Austria and Germany already from when it came into force in mid-November, while others were more uncertain, above all due to the fear of social tensions that could arise. Already a few days later, Undersecretary of Health Pierpaolo Sileri clarified that with the numbers of Italian infections, those of November, it was not a strategy to be implemented, but could be evaluated “if any territory had passed into the orange zone”.

In Italy for now the Super Green pass is in force, the equivalent of the German 2G rule, necessary since 6 December, to access a series of social activities, such as entering indoor bars and restaurants and stadiums, which are instead closed to holders of the basic green pass only.

Massimo Andreoni, head of infectious disease at the Tor Vergata Polyclinic in Rome, also supported the hypothesis of the lockdown for the unvaccinated. “The lockdown for the unvaccinated has proven to work – he said – Let’s see what happened in Germany where the case curve has dropped. It is therefore a strategy that would help from an epidemiological point of view, because unvaccinated people are those most at risk today of becoming infected and infecting others. However, it remains a choice of politics, because it involves evaluations on the impact on society ”.


Source: Huffington Post Italy Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.it.

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