HALF-TIME statement to the protective measures against COVID-19 in Germany

Dear readers,

We are on day 13 of the elevated protective measures. Over the past days on average we had 20 500 new infections daily (a week earlier the number was 19 750) – it is too early to draw conclusions. One or two weeks from now, numbers will be robust enough to do so. Anyway, two possibilities will face each other at that time.

  1. Infection numbers continue to rise. That will mean the measures do not work. Why not? In that case, the measures are imposed at the wrong end, meaning restaurants, cultural events, and gyms are NOT the main responsible drivers of viral spread. One factor beyond control will be private gatherings. Those, as well as schools and public transportation will have to be taken into account as well. That would have severe consequences, for these places of gathering would have to be included in future measures. In the past we already made suggestions.
  2. Infection numbers are declining. That would mean the measures have hit some of the central drivers of the pandemic. If so, these measures need to be upheld. The German government had provided € 10 billion of relief money to the affected commercial sectors. This, it could continue for two or three more months. This would be advisable.

The German politics was in a position to help big companies (such as airline and automobile industries). This now needs to apply for small and medium enterprises as well, since these are the ones paying taxes.

To now weaken the measures would be a mistake. In other words: We are driving full throttle towards a concrete wall. Our brain decided to hit one pedal. Fortunately, instead of the accelerator it was the break. Why should we release the break?

The aim of the measures is to come back to an infection number that is manageable for contact tracing of all chains of infection, and to interrupt those. To that end, the infection numbers must decline drastically. If the measures are working, they need to stay in place. Anything else would be illogical.

One word about the private gatherings: At the moment, it is advised that no more than two households are meeting in private. This, however, cannot be controlled. It also is only useful, if people adhere to it. One calculation example and a call for more cooperation and understanding: If two households are meeting on Friday night, and both households are going to meet another household each on Saturday, followed by yet another gathering on Sunday, there will already be eight households involved in this event, which should be viewed as a nonsense mass gathering.

Another call to action – independent of industry or commercial sectors:

Politicians should hit the accelerator for businesses pounded by the measures. This money, the businesses should use to invest into the future. Business as usual IS NO LONGER (!) possible. Localities need to be refurbished and modernized in a way that they provide protection from infections. This also involves air conditioning or training of personnel. A polite and healthy distance between people, and accordingly individual tables and places must be ensured. This applies to all areas of business, schools, public transportation, supermarkets, offices a.s.o.

Another positive side effect: These measures will also lead to a decrease in personnel falling ill with influenza. Why? The way of transmission is the same. In Asian countries, face masks are worn for years now during flu-season.

Think about it: The middle age groups are bearing a big part of the economy. What if you were to harm yourself and others in a lasting way, resulting in job loss and even invalidity?

Advent is a time of reflection. Maybe this will also lead to those last ignorant people to wake up. After all, we are talking about a protective face mask, not an explosive devise around your neck.

We are looking forward to the outcome of Monday’s meeting of chancellor and governors. Our hope would be unity and solidarity. Politicians do have many months of big duties ahead of them, since this virus is still capable to paralyze the country, it is invisible, sneaking, divisive, destructive, and far too often deadly.

Stay alert, informed, in a polite distance, and healthy … and think of the Merkulix-Ahatzl (unfortunately this term is untranslatable, it is the German abbreviation for the protective rules, more about this may be found in previous posts).

Yours, Sabine and Jörg

SAJO is consulting all around infectious diseases. We are applying our know-how, that we have acquired in more than 20 years. We do what we can to fight this pandemic. We are also providing consulting to colleagues of the medical and scientific faculties.

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