Long Covid patients demonstrate in front of the Bundestag

DThe witnesses for the prosecution are not present in person, but they protest silently in their own way. On a meadow in front of the Bundestag on Thursday there are 400 camp beds, silver metal tubes, blue tarpaulins, neatly lined up. On each bed a photo with some personal information. Each cot represents a destiny.

For someone whose health is suffering from the late effects of the Corona crisis, after an infection or a vaccination. The campaign tells stories like this: “Simone, 53 years old, unable to work since April 2022”. Or: “Benjamin, 43 years old, has been ill since February 2021”. Also present: “Jante, seven years old, has been ill since December 2021”.

“The politicians just don’t do anything”

Under the slogan “Not recovered”, representatives of those affected who are suffering from the long-term effects of the pandemic took a stand in front of Parliament on Thursday morning. “I’ve been suffering from Long Covid myself for a year,” says Ricarda Piepenhagen. She registered the campaign in Berlin and actually works as a teacher in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. She had been on sick leave for months. Inflammation in the vessels, abnormal blood values, all of this leads to blurred vision and tremors.

She says she can’t teach like that. “And politicians are simply doing nothing.” A lot of money had flowed to deal with the Corona crisis, but those in government had done what was possible. But those responsible did not want to deal with the long-term consequences. Piepenhagen says: “I don’t know how to explain that. They probably just don’t realize how explosive the situation is.”

The bunks of the protest action in front of the Bundestag

The bunks of the protest action in front of the Bundestag

Image: Reuters

That there are people who are severely affected by the consequences of corona suffering is undisputed. It is only unclear how many there are – and how exactly the health problems arise. In September, the University of Washington estimated for the World Health Organization (WHO) how many people in Europe experience long-term effects after being infected with the coronavirus.

Accordingly, in the 53 member states of the local WHO region, at least 17 million people are from Long Covid affected. According to the figures, women fall ill twice as often as men, and severe courses of the disease increase the risk.

Those affected rarely get help in Germany. Sometimes because the symptoms are interpreted as a psychosomatic illness; sometimes because the attending doctor simply does not know which therapy would help at all. the OK reports on the problems of their policyholders. “People who suffer from post- or long-Covid often have to go a long way through the medical institutions to get well again,” the health insurance company said. “But despite numerous specialist medical examinations, many do not find out what they can do to improve their state of health.”

There are only a few specialized ambulances in Germany, and the waiting times there are long. In addition, the disease with its diverse symptoms has not yet been well researched. Physical exhaustion is often one of them, as is shortness of breath, tachycardia and nerve pain. The Scientific Institute of the AOK has calculated on the basis of data from insured persons that those affected are absent from work for an average of almost seven weeks.

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