Corona plea: three reasons why the end of the corona measures is too early

Corona plea
Incidence, contagion and patchwork quilt: three reasons why the end of the corona measures is too early

The corona protection measures will no longer apply from April 2nd

From April 2nd, the masks may fall.

© Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / DPA

The corona protection measures are no longer applicable. Three reasons why it’s still too early for that. And a plea for a planned life with the corona virus.

In spring, mucking out is the order of the day in many households. Get rid of the old stuff is the motto. The traffic light government has also cleaned up – namely with the corona-Measures. Anyone who wants to can meet in most parts of Germany. Vaccination, convalescence and test evidence are no longer required – unless cinema or restaurant owners continue to decide to do so. And: The mask is no longer mandatory, apart from a few exceptions.

The federal government has thus kept the promise it announced last fall. After two pandemic years marked by contact restrictions and lockdowns Germany so now take it easy. Whether the country can afford it, however, is another question. There are enough reasons why this is not the case.

The virus doesn’t just give up

The government should now be aware that the corona virus can neither be tamed nor is it based on political opening plans. The numbers of Robert Koch Institute (RKI) are clear. The incidence has only known one way since the beginning of the year: steeply upwards. In the meantime, the RKI reported slight slumps. Compared to previous waves, however, we are currently at a record level.

At the same time, the incidence of boosted, doubly vaccinated and unvaccinated is converging. The reason: The vaccination developed for the wild type only provides limited protection against the currently dominant omicron variants. According to the current RKI weekly report, the incidences in the age group between 18 and 59 years are between 148 and 159. These are symptomatic courses. On the other hand, there are clear differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated people in terms of the incidence of hospitalization. Those who are not immunized are more likely to end up in intensive care. However, the numbers are currently so low that the health system is not significantly burdened.

Politicians and health experts are therefore calling for less importance to be attached to the incidence – because the goal of relieving the burden on hospitals has been achieved with the vaccination. And: The common thesis is that we won’t be able to escape the epidemic anyway.

The consequences of the infection can hardly be estimated

This may be. However, in view of the high number of infections, one should ask oneself what consequences the infection can have for the health of the population and the economy. In the past few weeks, there have been reports of people formerly suffering from Covid who are now struggling with the consequences of the disease. The after-effects are still little explored. However, initial study results indicate that between ten and 30 percent of corona patients develop long covid. In relation to Germany, that would be between 800,000 and 24,000,000 people who would need medical care. Which in turn challenges the healthcare system.

On the other hand, in the worst case, this also means millions of people who would have to give up their work in the short or long term due to illness – at the expense of the economy. The Brookings Institute came to the same conclusion according to calculations for the United States.

And even infected people with a mild course can still show symptoms weeks after the illness and be impaired in their work. Data from a British study shows that more than 30 percent were still suffering from chronic fatigue four weeks later. In a meta-analysis, researchers found that fatigue (58 percent), headaches (44 percent), and attention deficit (27 percent) are among the three most common symptoms after infection.

Patchwork and crisis communication

The third argument is political in nature. When it comes to crisis management and communication, politics has still not learned anything. After two years of the pandemic, it is hard to understand that uniform nationwide pandemic rules, which are more than desired, continue to be replaced by a patchwork quilt. The same applies to the fact that the federal government has actually abolished the measures, the federal health minister continues to warn and begs the federal states on their knees to implement the hotspot regulation.

Social scientists never tire of emphasizing that this undermines citizens’ trust in political institutions. Survey about from the University of Erfurt or the Leibniz Center for Psychological Information and Documentation confirm the fears. Accordingly, trust in the federal government has fluctuated since the beginning of the pandemic, but overall it is in a downward spiral.

There is no plan for living with the virus

Will the easing change anything? Maybe short term. The example of Austria shows this. The Alpine republic was always one step ahead of Germany when it came to corona waves, the debate on compulsory vaccination and easing. The number of infections developed in this country with a slight delay, similar to that of the neighbors. Austria already phased out all corona measures at the beginning of March. But a good two weeks later, the rules were tightened again, and the mask is now mandatory again. Something similar could also happen in Germany – especially since the development in the number of cases is anything but declining.

The most astonishing thing about the whole situation, however, is that politicians are apparently moving into life with the corona virus without any concrete planning. Removing all protective measures, arguing that sooner or later everyone will contract the virus will not make the disease go away, nor will it make it harmless. People are still dying, according to the RKI it was 348 a day (as of March 30, 2022).

What is needed now at the latest is a seasonal strategy that is also based on the incidence and takes into account the consequences of a corona infection. In other words: stricter measures in autumn and winter. But even in spring and summer, the incidences should reach worrying heights. But the federal government must first be able to agree on this.

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