The German Chancellor, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, can be sure that this autumn it will be difficult for him to govern by consequences of the illegal invasion of Russia against Ukraine, be it for energy, economic or social reasons.
However, it seems thate not only geopolitical turbulence will bring headaches to the chancellor. Because COVID-19 is still there and confronting it is another issue that stresses the government coalition formed in Germany by social democrats, environmentalists and liberals.
So these days Scholz’s Minister of Health, also a Social Democrat Karl Lauterbach, has been seen confronting the Minister of Justice, the liberal Marco Buschmann, on what to do in the face of the coronavirus pandemic this fall. Next week is supposed to Bundestag will vote in favor of the tightening of measures against the spread of COVID-19 proposed by the Executive.
The situation of the restrictions in Germany, where three quarters of the population – 76.3% – have received basic immunization and two out of three Germans – 62% – have received a third dose of the vaccine, welcomes what Buschmann has described as “responsible normality”. Until now, the main rule, dating from last January, makes masks mandatory on public transport. But the application of this and other measures depends on the regional executives.
Now, everything seems to indicate that, for next autumn, there will be new measures. “We have to prepare for the fall and winter,” Buschmann explained earlier this week. in an interview with the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
According to the accounts of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal agency for disease prevention and control, the incidence in Germany is 243.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last week. Hospitalizations in the country for COVID-19 are 3.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days. In the last 24 hours, 181 people infected with COVID-19 have died, leaving the average of the last seven days at 87 deaths.
181 #Crown-Tote sind dem RKI gestern gemeldet worden.
— Olaf Gersemann (@OlafGersemann) August 31, 2022
A health system under heightened burden from COVID-19
Thus, as pointed out this week in the economic newspaper Handelsblattone of the most dedicated to the study of the impact of COVID-19 on the German reality“despite the improvement in the operational situation in recent weeks, the burden on the health system remains high.”
The forecast by the Government is that for the autumn and winter Make masks compulsory in public transport and medical centers throughout the country. In the latter, and in residences, it is also wanted to make it mandatory to present a negative test upon entry. All this, however, is subject to each Länder do and rate based on your situation.
“We are in a better situation than last winter. We have base immunity in the broader population. In the fall we will have updated vaccinations. We have effective medicines. For this reason, naturally, we want to impose as little as possible on citizens in their daily lives”, the head of Justice abounded.
The Minister of Justice sees the head of Health falling into “alarmism”
He and Lauterbach have already presented the Government’s plans, but their toughening project still has to go through the Bundestag. And in this final stretch there are important points of clash between the liberal and the social democrat. Above all, because in the FDP, the liberal party, where there is still resistance to the idea of making masks mandatory.
But that is not all, in the liberals they also mark distances with Lauterbachdoctor and epidemiologist as well as minister, because the social democratic politician It is not difficult for him to imagine scenarios that imply the return of confinements. For example, in case of the appearance of a new variant make COVID-19 more severe.
For Buschmann, making statements in this sense as Lauterbach has done is “alarmist”. It’s more, In his opinion, there is no longer a sufficient legal basis to justify a return to “confinement”. That term is used here to refer to restrictions on contacts and closures of hotels and entertainment venues that were never as severe as those experienced in the worst days of 2020 in countries like Spain or Italy.
In his reproach of alarmism against Lauterbach, Buschmann has found an ally in the newspaper bild, the most widely read newspaper in Germany. This very week, this influential publication wondered on its pages: “Is the Minister of Health someone healthy for our country?”
Lauterbach, bad for the health of Germany?
The question arose from a tweet written at dawn by the head of Health of the Scholz Government in which he pointed out a medical problem that was described in a recent article in the American newspaper Washington Post. It pointed out problems associated with a COVID-19 infection seen in the population between 20 and 50 years old.
Der Artikel bringt ein wichtiges Problem auf den Punkt: Niemand will das gerne hören. Aber viele 20-50 Jährige werden im Herbst, bei steigenden Corona Fallzahlen, eine Entzündung ihres Gehirngewebes als Folge #LongCovid erleben. Wir müssen endlich Therapien entwickeln. https://t.co/5jRCzQ8NNO
— Prof. Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) August 28, 2022
“No one wants to hear this. Nevertheless, many people in their 20s and 50s will experience brain tissue swelling from persistent COVID in the fall, as the number of coronavirus cases rises. We must develop therapies,” Lauterbach wrote.
In the bildthat prognosis was read as another invitation to panic by Lauterbach, who had already been wrong, according to this Tuesday’s edition of said newspaper, last summer when he pointed out that anti-COVID-19 vaccines had no “side effects” either when last winter he falsely warned that the country’s ICUs would be filled in December.
Last July, Lauterbach spoke of preparing for the eventual arrival of a “killer variant” of COVID-19. With all those appeals, Lauterbach, however, does not appear to be winning allies in the public debate. At least there don’t seem to be in the wording of the bild.
“Not only can the coronavirus make you sick, but also the fear of the virus,” as Luisa Volkhausen wrote in a recent editorial of said newspaper.