The impression that the pandemic could once again have reached a crucial point is being stifled by the latest federal and state decisions. No further corona measures are currently required, but no loosening either. Resubmission in Berlin in mid-February. Medicine knows such strategies as "wait and see". It works best when progress is undecided, when the tumor is growing so slowly that intervention may even be the worst course of action. In the case of the pandemic, politicians have already tried this a few times. However, neither their pandemic management nor society has done well, because waiting in a pandemic means fatal indecisiveness. Late and unprepared, that was the first sure diagnosis in every exponential phase.

Joachim Müller-Jung

Editor in the feuilleton, responsible for the "Nature and Science" department.

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In the omicron wave, large parts of society and politics, tired of the pandemic, now believe they are safe, which can be based more on debate than on data.

The new virus, statistically characterized by more mild courses, almost provokes this indecisive handling.

It is a perfidious evolutionary strategy of the pathogen, one could almost say: to feel safe and exploit the gaps.

In Denmark, one of the first countries with a particularly high vaccination rate where omicron has spread since December, the number of hospitalizations and deaths is by no means falling.

They climb.

The weekly incidences, which only rose with some delay due to the contact restrictions to protect against Delta and are now heading for a thousand new infections per hundred thousand nationwide,

Vaccination-skeptical doctors in the country are taking advantage of the situation

Many are now wondering why the incidences and case numbers should still be taken into account. Why, when the infection numbers in the test chaos are becoming completely incredible anyway and the infection process can hardly be adequately represented by PCR statistics - and where the vaccination logic has defined the sick and less the infected as the standard for its decisions. The hospitalization rate is not clear, but it is the number that must be considered above all according to the Infection Protection Act. And, as expected, it is moving upwards after the start of the omicron wave here and because of the clinical experience with the highly mutated virus. Like the tumor, so to speak, which grows unpredictably. Who in these first few weeks has not even forced his way into the most sensitive tissues of our society,where more than twenty million Germans - older unvaccinated and also vulnerable, because seriously ill and weakened immune system - have not yet come into contact with the virus.