Germany’s health minister said Friday the omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is “well under control” in the nation, even though he said he expects the number of daily cases to double to nearly 400,000 cases before it begins to drop.
Speaking at a news conference Friday in Berlin, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach explained that while the wave of infections itself cannot be controlled, the consequences can be minimized by taking the proper steps.
He said he expects daily cases to double to nearly 400,000 cases by mid-February, but he then expects them to drop, probably by the end of next month.
Cases are currently rising, with the country’s Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, or RKI, reporting 190,148 new cases as of Friday. Speaking at the same news briefing, RKI President Lothar Wieler said about 890,000 new cases were reported – nearly “1 percent of the entire population in just one week.”
The RKI reports the infection rate per 100,000 people, as of Friday, was 1,073.
Lauterbach says the government’s goal is to get through the wave with as few elderly people falling ill and as few deaths as possible, and he says so far, they are succeeding.
The health minister sought to dissuade people of the notion that just because the omicron variant is believed to be less severe, that vaccinations were not needed, saying that is wrong and not helpful. He encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and all those eligible to get booster shots.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press and Reuters.