In view of the increasing number of infections, the health minister warned: the epidemic can now be better fought with a little austerity. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) appealed to the federal states to tighten the corona measures. “The direction we are heading is not good,” Lauterbach said at a press conference in Berlin in view of the current corona situation. Now tightening the corona rules a bit means: “Now is really the time.” At this point you can better control the epidemic by wearing more masks indoors. Lauterbach stressed that everything will be done to ensure that the Covid pandemic “remains in the background”. Because you are currently in “hard times” due to the Ukraine war. Should the mask requirement come back? Write to Lesermeinung@stroeer.deAktuell, it can be assumed that many new infections are not reported: “I believe that the numbers we have are reliable, but not complete,” said the SPD politician. There is an under-reporting of people who did not have a positive rapid test confirmed by the PCR test. “So, we expect an unreported number that’s three to four times higher than what we’re assessing now. And that means we may not have 100,000 new cases right now, but if you count all the cases, up to 400,000 cases.” Not an issue of national emergency Lauterbach made it clear that the pandemic is “never over”. However, there are now four ways to adequately protect oneself against the virus: On the one hand, there are adequate vaccines available against the Omicron variant BA.5, which currently dominates the infection process. Also, adequate quantities of the drug paxlovide are available. Also, there is better corona data, for example through wastewater analysis The health minister named the new infection control law as the fourth protective measure, which allows the federal states to tighten the corona measures at any time, for example by introducing a mask requirement indoors. Lauterbach has ruled out declaring a new state of emergency so that the federal government can regain more power to fight the pandemic. The current situation is also so manageable that such a system cannot be justified New campaign “I protect myself” Under the motto “I protect myself”, the Minister of Health presented a new corona campaign of the federal government: 84 German citizens should create their own story about the coronavirus. The campaign has funny and “not so funny” motifs. Publication in all media is planned. Responsible for the campaign was the advertising agency of Raphael Brinkert, who was also involved in Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s federal election campaign. The campaign cost more than 30 million euros in total. In addition to Lauterbach, author Margaret Stokowski was also present at the press conference. Despite having three vaccinations, the 36-year-old author fell ill with the corona last January and is still fighting the long covid: “My acute course was reasonably mild – and then I never recovered”. Since then he has been suffering from headaches and great fatigue among other things. He is now lucky to be treated by a doctor who takes long covid seriously, which is not always the case. He did not participate in the campaign due to limitations caused by his illness “There is no absolute certainty” Stokowski criticized the fact that, from his point of view, the long covid is not yet researched enough. He was lucky to be able to try various expensive treatments. But not everyone can do that. The author nevertheless promoted vaccination: he did not know what would have happened if he had not been vaccinated. Lauterbach emphasized that vaccination reduces the risk of long-term Covid-19 disease. Additionally, current vaccines will ensure that the risk of infection is minimized. “It’s not absolute safety,” the health minister said. The best protection is also wearing a mask. The politician did not want to comment on the current arrest of a suspect who reportedly planned to kidnap him. Instead, he thanked the officers of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) who protected the minister. Lauterbach will draw no direct conclusions from the incident.