Economy & Politics

Comment: We should have stayed at home

Because of the corona pandemic, travelers returning from risk areas are being tested for corona in the corona test center at Cologne Bonn Airport
Because of the corona pandemic, travelers returning from risk areas are being tested for corona in the corona test center at Cologne Bonn Airportimago images / Future Image

Let’s name the corona elephant in the room: It would have been better if we had traveled less or not at all through Europe this summer. Two months ago, 158 circles were seven days without new infections, on Friday morning it was 29. We last counted almost 1500 new infected people within 24 hours. This value was last higher in early May. In addition, we experience breakdowns like in Bavaria, where around a thousand unconscious corona zombies without test results could wander through the country for days; We keep reading new headlines about infected returnees from Spain, Turkey and especially from Eastern Europe – it is high season again for contact investigators.

We are not automatically set back by three months, we are not facing a nationwide lockdown. The pandemic is not yet exponential, the famous R-factor is 1.07. We have enough hospital beds (or even excess capacities, as Helios board member Enrico Jensch told me in the podcast) and 200,000 of the 220,000 infected people have recovered. But the situation is fragile, more worrying than it was before the summer vacation.

As with the beginning of this pandemic, it’s not about eradicating the virus, but about control. And control takes patience, often more than we’d like. All those who understandably want normality, the old life, longing for the world of yesteryear, achieve exactly the opposite with too much carelessness.

The virus is not interested in what we media write

In the past few weeks I have had to deal with the accusation that the media were “creating” a second wave and fueling hysteria. As a rule, I have replied: I’m afraid the virus doesn’t care what we media write – whether mainstream or against the grain. It doesn’t even know what a second wave is. We’re just reporting on data, too, with all the uncertainties that exist. The most impressive thing about the virus is that it will sooner or later lead to the same facts, even populists, angry citizens and “lateral thinkers”.

One problem – unfortunately unavoidable – is that the R-factor has been linked to the K-question for months: Söder or Laschet, this duel hovers over everything, depending on whether the debate about the controversial storytelling in Heinsberg is boiling or the test centers do not work on Bavarian motorways. The virus is probably not interested in that either.

Another problem in this pandemic: Never before has a global phenomenon been recorded in such detail, meticulous and vividly, in corona live updates, world maps, numbers. However, the increase in data and knowledge does not automatically lead to greater clarity. Every day we can look for studies that fit our worldview and our theory: School closings are efficient or not, the virus is transmitted through surfaces or not, masks bring something or nothing, children are contagious or not.

We know more, but we don’t get any smarter

The daily update often means daily confusion: the virus came to New Zealand via a refrigerated cargo! In the UK 3.4 million people already have antibodies (but don’t these antibodies go away after half a year?). In Saxony, children in schools did not transmit the virus!

So we know more every day, but we don’t get any smarter. We interpret data but do not come to the same conclusions. At least we can learn the first lessons: Where a society opens up too early and too carelessly, there is a risk of a new lockdown.

A second lockdown in Germany would cause immense economic damage after the gentle recovery we are now seeing everywhere. Here, too, the art of balancing is needed: If you open bars prematurely in order to secure their existence, this prematurity could mean their end. Anyone who wants to abolish masks in retail could provoke shop closings by doing this.

Worry yes, panic no, more discipline yes, but not a total standstill – that is what this country is about in the decisive days ahead.


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