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The Omikron variant is here and the traffic light coalition has woken up


The Omicron variant is here. The traffic light coalition has woken up. And the latest from research: our Corona weekly overview.

Timo Lenzen / DER SPIEGEL

Dear readers,

exactly a week ago there was another turning point in this pandemic: Omikron, the new Corona mutant, appeared on the scene.

It was quickly said that it was both more contagious than the already highly infectious Delta variant due to umpteen new mutations and that there were also indications that it could bypass the immune defense of vaccinated and convalescent people.

Even people around me who had previously shown themselves to be psychologically resilient in the pandemic now fell into a brief corona depression in the face of this news ("When will this all finally end?").

Unfortunately we have to wait and see again.

Scientists all over the world are currently researching at full speed in order to be able to classify the danger that Omikron actually poses (read more about this here).

Two scenarios are possible: That Omikron (like many other variants before) will not establish itself or only regionally.

Or that the new variant is displacing Delta and possibly also bypassing the immune system of those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated.

We will know more precisely in the next ten days, according to the researchers.

After all, the manufacturers of the mRNA vaccines are reasonably confident that the current vaccines, even without modification, will at least protect against severe courses of omicron infections.

Whoever doesn't wait any longer is the traffic light coalition.

In view of the escalating situation (including the beginning of triage) in the past few weeks, the hesitant attitude of the future government seemed downright bizarre.

Now, presumably kissed awake by the constitutional court ruling that approved the "Federal Emergency Brake", it finally decided on Thursday to take measures that at least give reasonable hope that we can break the fourth wave.

Above all, however, she has evidently recognized that the time of waiting is over in one crucial point.

Scientists have long shown that a high vaccination rate is the only safe way out of the pandemic.

A look at our neighboring countries shows: Vaccination is freedom, namely from corona measures.

Not the opposite.

The fact that compulsory vaccination is now being demanded across the entire political spectrum is not, as some people believe, a "breach of word".

Rather, it is a clear sign that politicians seem to have woken up and arrived at the reality of the pandemic.

And that's good news.

The new SPIEGEL, now digital and tomorrow at the kiosk

"For life and death - triage: the cruel dilemma of doctors," is the title of the new SPIEGEL.

You will receive the digital version from now on and from Saturday at the kiosk.

Oh omicron!

Bioinformaticians about Omikron: "It's a mystery where the virus was hiding"

The Omikron variant is completely different from Delta or Beta.

Virus evolution expert Richard Neher explains how it could have come about.

New corona variant: when do we know the danger of Omikron?

Researchers are working flat out to assess the threat posed by the Omikron variant.

You may soon know one important factor - the other maybe only when it is too late.

Origin of the Omikron variant: gap in the Corona family tree

Because of the many mutations, Omikron differs from all previously known variants of

the Corona


How can it happen that such a changed pathogen suddenly appears?

There are two main theories.

Excitement about the new variant:

Forget Omikron!

The new variant of the coronavirus arouses uncertainties and fears.

Something else could happen with Omikron.

Until then, however, Delta will remain the central problem - and it is clear what needs to be done.

Looking for breakwaters - this is what the current measures look like

Just vaccinated or recovered: What the new corona rules mean for shops and restaurants

Just before Christmas, of all times, strict corona rules come into force in retail.

The industry fears further losses from 2G.

The catering industry is also worried - and warns of 2G plus.

Corona summit: 2G in retail, contact restrictions, firecrackers - this has been decided by the federal and state governments

Supplements to the Infection

Protection Act

, stricter rules for retail and events - and steps towards mandatory vaccination: with these measures, the federal and state governments want to contain the pandemic.

The overview.

Submission of the federal-state round: "We are very late"

The federal-state round worked out proposals on Tuesday as to how the fourth wave should be broken.

How do intensive care physicians and epidemiologists evaluate the proposed measures?

Federal Constitutional Court: School


and exit


were constitutional

Several constitutional complaints against exit and contact restrictions in the corona pandemic have failed.

The Federal Constitutional Court has thus approved essential parts of the federal emergency brake.

What is the status of child vaccination?

Ema recommendation: What you need to know about Covid-19 child vaccination

The Covid-19 vaccine from Biontech is now also approved for five to eleven year olds in the EU.

When will the drug be available and what makes it different from the adult vaccine?

The overview.

Please to Stiko: State health ministers want corona vaccinations

for children


The European Medicines Agency has recommended the Biontech vaccine for children from the age of five for approval, but Stiko boss Mertens is still cautious.

Now politicians are putting pressure on them.

Covid-19 in worldwide numbers

  • Confirmed Cases: 264,304,501

  • Deaths: 5,237,087

  • Germany: 6,051,8560 confirmed patients, 102,568 deaths

    Sources: CSSE / Johns Hopkins University, as of December 3, 2021, 10:21 am;

    Robert Koch Institute, as of December 3, 2021, 3:27 a.m.

Research news

Blood clots after corona vaccination: researchers find possible cause of rare cerebral vein thrombosis

In very rare cases, the vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson trigger dangerous blood clots.

Researchers have identified further explanations as to why this could be.

Research group on the coronavirus situation: A lockdown could be avoided if ...

The calls for a strict lockdown are getting louder, and a large part of the population expects it too.

A research team led by the physicist Viola Priesemann is of the opinion that this could still be prevented.

What else was important

Angry protest against corona measures: Saxony, one single hotspot

In Saxony, some clinics are on the

verge of

collapse, but there are still protests against protective measures in many places.

Anger, incited from the right, is clearly increasing - as is the potential for violence.

Italian doctor on triage: "I feel no guilt"

Overcrowded clinics, coffins in churches, fear: when the coronavirus reached Bergamo, chaos broke out.

Doctors like the intensive care doctor Christian Salaroli had to decide who would be treated.

And who doesn't.

Covid drug: Spahn orders 80,000 doses of molnupiravir

So far, the federal government has been quite reluctant to buy drugs that have not yet been approved.

Now the Ministry of Health has signed an order for the Covid drug molnupiravir.

OP postponed due to Corona: "So that's how it feels"

Cancer grows in them, they are in pain - and wait.

Three people tell what it means when clinics have to postpone their operations due to Corona.

Have a nice weekend

Yours Michail Hengstenberg

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-12-03

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