Corona numbers go up and up: Last exit lockdown? Over 11,300 as of today wed 10/11/21 and 40 deaths. For a country with a population of only 8.5 million that is high!
Is Austria stumbling into a lockdown again? Politicians are at least reassuring those who have been vaccinated this is not so. But Scientists see it “as not far away” and now recommend a “test week” for everyone.
Suddenly, the Lockdown-word is back. Almost two years after the start of the Corona pandemic, the idea of a lockdown is once again being bandied about. It’s planned for the unvaccinated anyway, should 600 intensive care beds be occupied by covid patients at some point – that’s when the government’s phased plan calls for restrictions for the unvaccinated.
Currently – as of Monday – there are 377 Corona intensive care patients in hospitals. Stage four – that is, 2G instead of 3G – was brought forward and has been in effect since Monday. Originally, this was planned for an occupancy of 500 Corona intensive care beds. But has a lockdown secretly been looming for everyone for a long time, as some fear?
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) has repeatedly ruled this out: “There will be no lockdown for vaccinated patients,” he says. Other members of the government are more cautious: Nothing can be categorically ruled out, says the Green Party – even if regional lockdowns for all could only be “the last consequence. There are definitely no plans for a general lockdown at the moment, they assure us. The meeting between the government, the states and experts on Friday also went well and amicably. Or, as some Greens say: with Schallenberg one can agree well. This probably means better than with his predecessor. The state governors had also all recognized how serious the situation was. On Monday, the Neos nevertheless demanded a guarantee from the government against a renewed lockdown for vaccinated and recovered people.
“Are you out of your minds?”
Politics in a pandemic is one thing. Science often something else entirely. Or, as simulation researcher Niki Popper says in a STANDARD interview, “You can’t negotiate politically with the virus.” So what does the scientist say about the lockdown question? “We are not far away from it,” says Popper, who is part of the national Covid forecasting consortium. However, “To me, it’s inconceivable that a lockdown is coming. What politician would impose that now?
The vaccinated would say, ‘Are you out of your minds?’ The unvaccinated: ‘I’m not afraid of it. What do you want from me?'” Against that scenario, he thinks lockdown considerations are difficult. “However, you have to look closely at current growth. The only sustainable strategy that will protect us from action or a lockdown is vaccination. Acutely, though, we’re too late with that.”