Pulmonologist Cihan Çelik on vaccination breakthroughs and fake PCR tests

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?

The number of patients has leveled off on a plateau after the increase as a result of the end of the summer travel season. The new admissions and discharges have lately been about the same, and we have been able to control the Covid events in a normal ward without having to restrict other medical areas. Unfortunately, not many additional cases are missing to throw things off balance. As a maximum care provider, we bear the brunt of the burden compared to the surrounding hospitals. Even in times with a slightly lower incidence, the number of new admissions remains comparatively higher with us. As soon as there are more new admissions, we have to distribute patients to other hospitals, then these will also be affected. If you look at the current development of the incidence, you have to expect that the number of hospitalizations will soon rise again.

Were you surprised that the situation has been so stable recently?

The big developments are usually not all that surprising. Only the timing of the rise and fall can vary somewhat. It was surprising that the number of infections rose so early in late summer. It had a lot to do with traveling. The cases of infections and hospital admissions that are now likely to be imminent will be what we actually expected as the fourth wave. This is then also related to the colder temperatures and the resulting infections indoors. We are preparing for this. The number of our unvaccinated patients shows: In terms of vaccination quota, we are not yet where we would like to be.

Health Minister Jens Spahn considers the vaccination quota to be sufficient to end the “epidemic situation of national scope” at the end of November, as he said this week. How do you find that?

Changing the legal basis is a matter of politics. From a medical point of view, this does not mean that the epidemic situation is over. For us, this is only over when the number of infections can no longer rise sharply in waves and this no longer leads to a high number of patients having to be additionally cared for in the hospital. Then the endemic phase would have dawned for us. I assume that it is not there yet. It is questionable whether our vaccination quota is actually sufficient to prevent the situation in the clinics from worsening – given the feared increase in the number of infections in autumn and winter.

In Great Britain, the number of infections is currently increasing rapidly – despite a high vaccination rate.

There the experiment was started to drop almost all measures very early. The number of new infections has risen sharply in a European comparison. However, the number of hospital admissions and deaths is much lower than last winter. The difference is of course the vaccination rate and the number of people who have recovered. There remains a social discussion about how much disease one wants to accept until one takes measures again. In Great Britain, too, this is currently being discussed again in view of almost 50,000 cases a day. The situation in Romania is dramatic, where the health system is threatened with a very low vaccination rate. The reports from our colleagues from Romania are startling. Therefore I am very grateful for the vaccination quota in Germany and our situation.

How has the ratio of vaccinated and unvaccinated patients developed for you?

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