April 1st, 2022
Started in February 2020, the SAJO blog is providing a thread through the pandemic with up-to-date information and suggestions around SARS-CoV-2.
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A German April fool’s day prank? Not so, unfortunately. Starting today, April 1st, 2022, Germany is stopping all measures dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one very obscure “hotspot rule” remains in place.
In Germany, new infections were around 100,000 per week in March 2021. In March 2022, numbers are around 1,300,000 with an upward trend. Now, it makes sense to remove all measures. All-clear.
300 deaths per day, people who would not have had to die, had certain measures been kept in place! Should these numbers stay the same, they will add up to over 70,000 deaths in 2022. Unnecessary deaths. Is this worthy of an enlightened society?
We save ourselves from more depressing numbers. You know the source: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
What happened? Some of our neighbor countries had ended restrictions over the past weeks, thus putting some peer pressure upon the German government. That is why within the German government and the parliament (the “Bundestag”) the most-noisy brats and fools led the way. What was not put into this calculation was the fact that our neighbors have a far better vaccination rate, supporting their decisions. Our neighbors’ population also is acting much more attentive with the pandemic situation. What would be the costs of a general indoor mask mandate (in public buildings, companies, offices, public transportation, schools, universities, hospitals a.s.o.)? An N95-mask is not an unreasonable constraint of your personal freedom. On the contrary:
The N95 mask is your ticket to a reasonably safe interaction with others, avoiding the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2.
Meanwhile, we just hope that many people in Germany have realized this and are ready to protect themselves in closed spaces. Once numbers increase, there will be several problems: Hospitals and employers in general will struggle with even more shortages of their workforce than is already being lamented.
Now this raises the question how the government could do such a turnaround. One obvious answer is: The Free Democratic Party (FDP) as the smallest party in the coalition government are “pulling their stronger partners around the arena on a nose ring” (a German proverb, that cannot be translated…). A breakup of the coalition government would lead to new elections, the two other partners want to avoid this.
The FDP once was a liberal party. Over the past twenty years, this has changed considerably. Today, they are promoting a very self-centered definition of freedom. It says: “I want my own freedom and be it at the cost of the freedom of others”. This we think is undemocratic. (Note: These are the colors used on FDP ads.)
This party’s concept of freedom is very narrowly defined. A face mask is robbing you of your freedom! Absurd. Well, over the past two pandemic years we have grown accustomed to absurdities. We want to recall the Bavarian rule of 2020, forbidding a single person to sit on a bench in a park. This just leaves you speechless.
Are there more reasons why the FDP wanted to end all safety measures? We have another – rather nasty – thought. The FDP wants a slim and economical government. Of the 70,000 people who will die of COVID-19 this year, most are of retirement age. To the FDP, these people are not contributing to the economic society. In contrast, they are a burden to the social system. Letting these people die, is an elegant try to relief the government debt. Would the FDP admit that? Of course not. Hypocrisy is part of their business. The old and the sick don’t have a lobby in Germany.
Omicron continues to be insidious. It is more infectious than its cousins, and it affects people differently. From asymptomatic to deadly disease, everything is possible. Hence, many people may lull themselves into a false sense of safety. We still don’t know enough about long-term effects. This itself should be worrying.
If the virus is allowed to infect millions of people, it has infinite possibilities to change. This may happen in Germany, but also in China. There, the government slowly but steadily is losing control over infection events. There, we do not speak of mere millions of hosts for the virus.
The official count of infections globally tallies 500,000,000. Underreporting will be significantly higher. What worries us as virologists is that several billion naïve and unprotected people will give the virus a chance for further development. The direction of such a change – be it milder or more aggressive – is unpredictable.
As you may see, this is a cliffhanger, the pandemic situation is far from over.
Besides face masks, we are still appealing for vaccinations. We have been vaccinated and we are wearing N95 masks when indoors. We avoid gatherings with people not wearing masks. N95 masks provide a 95 % protection from infection, while vaccinations protect from severe disease at a rate of 80 %. This should be enough of an argument. But, please decide for yourselves, based on the facts.
Please, stay alert.
PS: Since we are talking about stupidity, we do have an interesting read. Michael Schmidt-Salomon: “Keine Macht den Doofen” („No power to the idiots”, available in German only). In this pamphlet, the philosopher is explaining Homo demens. Worth reading.
Yours, Joerg and Sabine
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