Effectiveness Over Time & Delta

On Sunday, Metropole brings you a COVID-19 update from Prof. Dr. Florian Krammer, an Austrian virologist who works and teaches at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Prof. Dr. Florian Krammer has been writing (bi-)weekly updates in German for family and friends. Metropole was kindly granted permission to translate and publish these updates.

October 12, 2021

Here it is again, the bi-weekly COVID-19 update. So far, 238 million official SARS-CoV-2 infections have been registered, 4.868 million people have died from COVID-19 so far, and 6.5 billion doses of vaccine have been administered.

Stable Numbers in Europe

In many European countries, case numbers are stable, and often quite low. The big exception is the East and the Balkans. Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, Russia, Croatia and Slovakia are currently experiencing waves of infection of varying severity.

In Slovenia it is already going down again and Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary see only very slight increases. Very slight increases, which hopefully will not become a trend, can also be seen in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Falling Case Numbers in the Americas & Asia

The number of cases in the USA, Canada and Mexico is decreasing. In South America – except in Venezuela – they are low and also decreasing in many Central American countries. In Asia, the situation is actually quite good, with case numbers falling almost everywhere. Exceptions are South Korea, where the number of cases remains about the same, and Singapore, where there is a sharp increase.

Spikes in Oceania & China

Australia has seen a further increase in cases, and New Zealand and China each have a handful of cases. In the Middle East and Maghreb, case numbers are low or going down almost everywhere. Exceptions are Turkey (stable high) and Egypt (rising). In Africa, the situation is also stable, with a few exceptions.

The Vaccination Rate Counts

I cannot say exactly how the pandemic will continue. In some countries, basic immunity through vaccination and/or infection is probably high enough now to prevent further waves. In others, certainly not. Hard to say what will happen, but the worst is definitely over. If we’re lucky, we’ll get through the winter without any problems.

However, the vaccination rates in Austria and Germany are unfortunately far too low. For the unvaccinated, the situation is currently still dangerous in Austria and Germany, one should not be deceived just because the case numbers are not extremely high.

Vaccines for Children

A short update on vaccinations in the age group 5-11 years. Pfizer has now submitted the data to the US regulatory authority. The decision on the approval will be made in October. In Europe it will probably take a little longer.

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Prof. Dr. Florian Krammer
Prof. Krammer is the Principal Investigator of the Sinai-Emory Multi-Institutional Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Center (SEM-CIVIC). Currently Prof. Krammer holds a position as a Professor of Vaccinology at the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He has published more than 100 papers, is member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Virology, Plos One and Heliyon and is a peer reviewer for more than 30 journals.

Current Status

If you live in Vienna, make sure to register for getting a vaccine against COVID-19 under impfservice.wien.  Here you can book your vaccination appointment.

The City of Vienna offers free vaccinations without an appointment to everyone – regardless of citizenship, residency or insurance status – at multiple locations across the city. 

Vienna has reinstated a number of coronavirus restrictions for the fall. The Austrian government has presented a plan for schools and universities.  

Here’s an overview of where you can get tested for COVID-19 in Vienna and how the free PCR “gargle” tests at home work. 

If everything is a bit much for you or you experience domestic violence of any kind, here is our mental health resource article.

Numbers

For current coronavirus numbers, check the website of Ministry of Health and the AGES dashboard.

The Austrian Ministry of Health also publishes daily vaccination statistics and a preview of scheduled deliveries.

Resources

The City of Vienna has compiled comprehensive information on questions and answers regarding coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease in English.

The Austrian Ministry of Health has put together FAQs on the coronavirus and also provides material to download on how to protect yourself and others from the disease, also in English.

Furthermore, the ministry will constantly update its German-language website with information on the number of people tested and cases of COVID-19 in Austria.

Hotlines

Health advice by telephone1450

If you show symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties) or fear that you are ill, stay at home and dial health number 1450 for further procedures (diagnostic clarification).

Coronavirus hotline AGES+43 0800 555 621

The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) answers questions about the coronavirus (general information on transmission, symptoms, prevention) 24 hours a day at +43 0800 555 621.

VKI hotline for travel law questions+43 0800 201 211

For legal questions concerning trips that have already been booked (e.g. whether a trip can be cancelled free of charge), the experts of the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) provide advice free of charge from Monday to Sunday between 09:00 and 15:00 at +43 0800 201 211.