How does Germany get out of the third wave of pandemics? The lockdown must be tightened, more and more experts and politicians are certain.
The third corona wave is rolling and yet some federal states are taking an opening course – this causes horror among medical experts. The intensive care physicians are calling for a hard lockdown and an immediate stop to all planned opening steps: “The resolutions for model projects after Easter are completely inappropriate and must be withdrawn immediately by the federal and state governments,” said Christian Karagiannidis, the president of the intensive care society DGIIN, the “Rheinische Post Office”.
“It takes a mixture of hard lockdown, many vaccinations and tests. This is the only way to prevent the intensive care units from overflowing,” he said. Such a lockdown must apply nationwide and last two weeks. “I ask politicians not to abandon hospital staff.” Other doctors and virologists had also criticized the opening course of some countries.
Spahn also thinks a further lockdown is necessary
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) also considers a further lockdown to be necessary. “If we take the figures, including the developments today, we actually need another 10 or 14 days at least to properly shut down our contacts, our mobility,” said Spahn at an online discussion event organized by the federal government, where citizens could ask questions.
A lockdown is necessary, similar to that at Easter last year, said the Minister of Health. He himself would also rather celebrate Easter with a larger family, he said. “But it just won’t work this year.” If this wave can be broken before it gets too big in April, then opening steps are also possible afterwards.
Lauterbach expects up to 50,000 infected people per day
The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach told the newspapers of the Funke media group: “It is very clear that we are growing exponentially and can reach daily numbers of 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 infected people within a short period of time.” Some other countries are therefore pulling the “emergency brake” and tightening measures again.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a seven-day incidence of 124.9 on Saturday morning. This means that the value is higher than it has been since January 19 (131.5). On Friday the RKI had given the incidence as 119.1, two weeks ago it was 76.1. The seven-day incidence indicates the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week and is an important indicator for the course of the pandemic. In addition, the health authorities in Germany reported 20,472 new corona infections to the RKI over the course of Friday. In addition, 157 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had recorded 16,033 new infections and 207 new deaths within one day.
The federal and state governments agreed on model projects
Despite the long increase in numbers, the federal and state governments decided at the Prime Minister’s Conference at the beginning of the week that the states in “selected regions” may open individual areas of public life on a test basis in “temporary model projects”, “with strict protective measures and a test concept” . Several countries have announced that they will open several model regions at the same time. The Saarland even wants to open the whole country after Easter – so far without a time limit.
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute from Saturday morning, the country is doing relatively well with a seven-day incidence of 69.7 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a national comparison (124.9), but the trend is rising. Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) defends the decision: “We are a small country, our test infrastructure is well set up, and currently the infection rate is moderate – so good conditions to do this across the Saarland,” he told the “Bild” newspaper. “One year after the corona pandemic, we now have to think of more than just closing and restricting.” He added: “That is why we will expand the tests even more, accelerate vaccination and allow more freedom under strict hygiene requirements.” If “the number of infections increases exponentially, we will pull the emergency brake in good time”.
“Understandable need for everything to normalize a little”
The Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, also advocates further easing of the corona protective measures. “Now the exhaustion of the people must also be taken into account through clever openings,” he told the editorial network Germany. With the vaccinations of the elderly, the rectification of vaccination and test problems and good organization, it should work to enable more people to meet again than before. And employer President Rainer Dulger told the “Heilbronner Voice”: “It is about the understandable need for everything to normalize a little, here politics must show perspectives.”
In the meantime, however, there are strong doubts about the safety of the much-invoked rapid tests. “Antigen tests are nowhere near as safe as you think,” Lauterbach told the Funke newspapers. Studies have shown: “If someone is really asymptomatic, the rapid test works in six out of ten positive cases. In four out of ten cases the test is negative.”
Population poll: 36 percent want tightening
In the meantime, more people are speaking out in favor of tightening rather than easing the measures, as the ZDF Politbarometer showed. More than a third (36 percent) want to tighten it, just under a third (31 percent) want to keep it and a quarter (26 percent) want to loosen it.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), who wants to set up eight opening model regions, asks people at the same time to continue to adhere to the Corona rules at Easter. “In the end, civil disobedience does not help anyone – neither the individual nor everyone. We are a community of fate. Aid that some get is only there because others help finance it. That is why it is important that we uphold solidarity,” he said “Passauer Neue Presse” and the “Donaukurier”.