Researcher: Do not repeat mistakes in dealing with Corona – Vorarlberger Nachrichten


In a forecast in the journal “The Lancet Regional Health Europe”, scientists warn against repeating mistakes in dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic last summer and autumn. 34 leading experts try their hand at a medium-term outlook. They emphasize the possibility of larger waves from autumn if containment measures are dispensed with, the vaccination rates are not increased and there is no Europe-wide coordinated approach.

From Austria there are Peter Klimek from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) and the Medical University of Vienna, Thomas Czypionka from the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), the political scientist Barbara Prainsack from the University of Vienna and the epidemiologist Eva Schernhammer from the MedUni Vienna and of the Harvard Medical School (USA) well-known representatives among the authors. The analysis focuses on the periods of summer 2021, the coming autumn and winter 2021-2022 and the perspective for the next three to five years. The basis is formed by considerations on immunity through vaccination protection, on further virus mutations (worrying variants or even immune escape variants) as well as on the attitude and willingness of Europe’s population to continue to support non-pharmaceutical measures.

For Klimek it is clear that we cannot get rid of the pandemic with vaccinations until we have achieved herd immunity, which is now often classified as unrealistic. In all likelihood, further containment measures are needed, such as good risk communication and testing, tracing and isolating (TTI). However, one does not assume “that we will need lockdowns every winter”, emphasized Klimek in an interview with the APA. However, the pandemic will continue to present us with challenges, as one of the unanimous points among the experts involved in the work was “that we will no longer be able to wipe out the virus”. Therefore, the lowest possible number of cases and Europe-wide “a clear, evidence-based and context-relevant strategy as well as concerted efforts and measures”, according to the experts.


Vaccination plays the central role in the thinking of scientists. This is the only way to protect the risk groups and the health system. A general compulsory vaccination will certainly be discussed in Europe in the future if, according to Klimek, the wave to be expected in non-vaccinated population groups increases towards autumn. The effectiveness of a mandatory vaccination beyond certain occupational groups remains “controversial, since the vaccination depends on a complex interplay of various factors”, it says in the paper.


When discussing the reintroduction and maintenance of containment measures that are likely to be necessary, according to the experts, consideration should also be given to how differently vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are treated. Vaccines “probably also reduce the transferability if people become infected despite a previous vaccination. Above all, they seem to prevent severe symptoms and hospital stays, with a relative risk reduction of around 70-95 percent being achieved, ”the experts write.


If the number of cases continues to rise, as has already been observed, it will be the task of governments not to repeat the mistakes of the past autumn and winter. Experience shows that “the reintroduction of the necessary health measures could come too late to successfully prevent another wave in autumn,” warn the scientists. For Klimek, “unfortunately it is still true that we are proceeding in a relatively uncoordinated manner at the European level. We did not learn the lessons “. If there is no rethinking here, “let’s play global pandemic ping-pong with ever new outbreaks and new variants,” said Czypionka in an IHS broadcast.


Klimek warns of a “marmot greets every day” situation with the quasi-cancellation of the pandemic in summer while the breeding ground for future waves is being prepared at the same time. “The ultimate test in the months to come” will show whether something has been learned here.


It will be very interesting to see how immunity built up through vaccination or through illness remains in the long term, even in the face of new variants. For this reason, among other things, laboriously built infrastructures should be retained. “This infrastructure includes basic public health resources, well-trained staff in sufficient numbers, well-functioning TTI systems, widespread sequencing of virus variants, and well-established molecular surveillance mechanisms,” the researchers say.


(SERVICE – website of the initiative:; The new perspective in “The Lancet Regional Health Europe” online:)