German statements around COVID-19 and their credibility…

… SAJO’s scientific evaluation and correction of dubious statements …

The current status of the pandemic:

Globally, as of September 17, 2020, we are counting close to 30 million infected persons, and almost 950,000 deaths. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

The global mortality based on confirmed cases is around 3.15 %.

In Germany, close to 270 000 cases have been confirmed, with 9 400 deaths. Mortality in Germany is at 3.5 % of confirmed cases.

Weekly, Germany is counting around 10,000 new cases, with numbers increasing. The reasons we have discussed in the last blog posts.

The dark figure of new infections is estimated to be much higher, since many cases are not recognized and not reported, the medical authorities have lost track, and are overwhelmed.

This is a hint at the actual numbers being no longer manageable.

Today’s blog post is dealing with some dubious statements, currently spread in the media.

In general, you should be aware that articles and books based on information from the time of the pandemic’s beginning, are outdated and should be dealt with cautiously. Our scientific knowledge of this virus is increasing on a weekly basis.

The announcement of vaccines: The German Robert-Koch-Institute predicted one or several vaccines for the beginning of the coming year. We consider this statement as unreliable. Nobody is capable to predict if and when a vaccine will successfully finish clinical phase III studies before 2021.

There are too many unknowns to give a strong prognosis. For example, in such a study, with half of the participants treated with a placebo, it must be made sure that the placebo controls have been indeed infected. Before that, these studies are worthless. The necessary time frame may be estimated at best. Thus, a prediction is prohibiting itself.

Given a vaccine is receiving authorization in the beginning of 2021 by the German Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, it will take months to produce vaccine doses in large scale. At first, certain groups of people will receive the vaccine, a broad distribution across the population is not to be expected before 2022. Consequently, the current protective measures will stay in place until then.

CURRENTLY, WE DO NOT HAVE ANY OTHER MEANS, since the German government decided to put all the financial support into one single system, the mRNA vaccine. No other vaccine method is being supported, and no drug development. This not only is risky, but also constitutes a distortion of competition.

Small amounts for single antibody developments do not count, not the amounts and not the idea of single antibodies.

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also gave their assessment on possible vaccines. For the US, they do not envision a vaccination campaign before mid-2021, for the same reasons of production capacities. This statement came as a response to harsh criticism voiced by virologist and Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, after the CDC had been yielding to political pressure from Washington (to provide a vaccine before November 3). Hopefully, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do withstand political pressure and remember their scientific obligation.

What is at stake here is more than one single vaccine. The trust in vaccines as a whole is at stake! Should a vaccine through political pressure be released prematurely, this will have ramifications since a large fraction of the population might no longer accept vaccines against other dangerous pathogens as well.

THE TRUST in vaccines and the political decision makers MAY BE FORFEITED ONCE ONLY!

With regards to the so-called German lockdown: Currently, the fear of a “second lockdown” is going round in Germany. Note: GERMANY NEVER EXPERIENCED a LOCKDOWN, Germany had a slowdown. Large events, parties and other recreational activities were banned, parts of the economy had to reduce personnel on site. This, admittedly, had a strong negative impact on some business, but this was in no way comparable to policies put into place in other countries, such as China (Wuhan), the US (New York City), as well as France and Spain. These had imposed curfews, sometimes controlled by the military.

We consider this ranting about the German “lockdown” as frivolous, when watching the consequences of real lockdowns in other countries. Consequences of a chaotic implementation of protective measures may be observed in the US, where the economy was hit hard with millions of unemployed people depending on social security now.

Time and again, Sweden is being cited as a shining example of success without a lockdown. For two reasons this is wrong. 1) Sweden also implemented restrictions. They however did count on education and active voluntary participation of the public. 2) This only had limited success and ended in disaster in many nursing homes.

Sweden is reporting 5890 deaths, making up 0.06 % of its population. This number is comparable to the one in the US. In Germany so far deaths have been 0.01% of the population. These numbers are speaking for themselves. The virus is still spreading in Sweden. This is not a success story.

“It is safe to reopen schools”: This statement we consider wrong. Unfortunately, state governments failed to prepare schools, students, teachers, and parents for this step. Each school is acting differently, in many cases with nonsensical and inconsistent requirements. One example would be the requirement to wear face masks outdoors in the school yard, while being allowed to remove them in the classroom. Such contradictions are confusing and unsettling all people involved. At least starting this school year there will be soap in the schools’ restrooms. A hygienical leap in the highly developed Germany, how embarrassing.

In contrast to the automobile and aircraft industries, children and adolescents in Germany do not have a lobby. The generational contract may well be canceled by the younger generation. Just open your eyes and see the behavior of many young people in this time of pandemic. Their youth is protecting many of them from severe disease. In most cases, it is the elder people dying from it. If you expect solidarity you should give solidarity to the young in return.

Make sure schools, training companies, and universities will be modernized. Lip services do not suffice any more. Our call is going to politicians and public officials who are making and implementing the decisions. Your pensions will have to be paid by the coming generation. This you should not forget.

Yours, Sabine and Jörg

SAJO – for a healthier and better world and future!

To our delight our blog is receiving a lot of acceptance, we love to share our knowledge. Single posts and contents are being adopted by others, also in media. We have learned how to correctly make a citation; this we would wish from others in return as well.

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