English

German health minister demands ending of protective measures against coronavirus

German Chancellor Angela Merkel [Credit: Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via AP]

Although around 9,000 people are infected with coronavirus every day in Germany, federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) has called for an end to the “epidemic situation.”

The decision rests with the Bundestag (federal parliament), which first declared an “epidemic situation of national scope” in March 2020 and must extend the decision every three months. The “epidemic situation” empowers the federal and state governments to issue regulations on coronavirus measures—such as social distancing, mask-wearing requirements, the obligation to present proof of COVID status, and contact restrictions.

If the “epidemic situation” is not extended until November 25, it means that no more measures will be taken to protect the population from the virus.

The reason given for lifting the measures is the allegedly high vaccination rate—a claim that is by no means tenable. Only just under two-thirds are fully vaccinated in Germany, and no one under the age of twelve.

Particularly threatening is the growing number of vaccine breakthroughs, infections of people who have already been vaccinated. Vaccination, falsely claimed by governments to be a panacea against the pandemic, is itself increasingly undermined by the herd immunity policy.

In the over-60 age group, one in two symptomatic infections in the last four weeks has been a vaccine breakthrough, and one in three in the 18-59 age group. It is not uncommon for a vaccine breakthrough to have fatal consequences. A total of 817 people in Germany have already succumbed to the coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated. The herd immunity policy also increases the risk that viral mutations will emerge that are resistant to current vaccines, thus invalidating one of the most important protective measures against the virus.

Contrary to government claims, the pandemic is not coming to an end. After stagnating at a high level over the past few weeks, new infections have again recorded a sharp increase in recent days. In the last week, the seven-day incidence rate rose from 65 to 75 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Over 9,000 new infections and about 60 deaths occur every day. The figures are thus significantly higher than at the same time last year.

The increase is particularly strong among children and young people. Among 15-to-34-year-olds, the incidence rate is 98 per 100,000, and among 4-to-14-year-olds it is as high as 170. Regionally, even incidence rates of up to 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants are being registered. In the last four weeks alone, 636 outbreaks have been reported in schools.

The high number of infections among young people is directly related to the reopening of schools after the summer vacations and the dismantling of any protective measures. With the dropping of compulsory mask wearing in most German states, there are hardly any protective measures worthy of the name.

Although the pandemic has already claimed 94,000 lives in Germany, according to official figures, all the establishment parties are committed to continuing this deadly policy. During the election campaign, all the candidates for chancellor had declared that there would be no further lockdowns. So far, in the exploratory talks to form a new government, coronavirus protection measures have not even been broached—a clear indication of the aggressiveness with which the incoming government will enforce the crackdown.

This policy will be implemented by all the establishment parties—especially the nominally left-wing ones. Even throughout the pandemic, leading representatives of the Left Party have supported the herd immunity policy. In April, in her YouTube programme “Wochenschau,” the party’s long-time parliamentary leader Sahra Wagenknecht appealed to right-wing QAnon types, coronavirus deniers and anti-vaxxers to roll back even the last measures to contain the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, Left Party founder Oskar Lafontaine called for a “Freedom Day,” meaning an end to any coronavirus measures. He referred to Freedom Days in countries such as Britain and made the claim that they had not led to an increase in the number of cases there. In reality, over 48,000 new infections occur every day in the UK, and the numbers continue to rise.

In other countries, the situation is even more dramatic. In the US, over 20,000 people have succumbed to the virus in the last two weeks alone. The total number of reported deaths is approaching 750,000.

The Left Party’s policies find their practical expression in Thuringia, where it holds the state premiership. In recent days, Thuringia has once again become the state with the highest incidence rate, with a figure of 139 per 100,000. Last year, the Thuringia state government distinguished itself by its ruthless policy of herd immunity. After Saxony, Thuringia is the federal state with the highest coronavirus death rate per inhabitant.

The Thuringia state executive’s unrestrained approach is particularly evident in school openings. Among 15-to-34-year-olds, the incidence is 158, and among 5-to-14-year-olds, it is as high as 390. These figures are a consequence of dismantling protective measures, which have gone further than in most other federal states. Not only is there no longer a requirement to wear masks in class, but also no mandatory testing in almost all of Thuringia.

The catastrophic coronavirus situation will worsen with the wave in the autumn and winter that virologists are warning about. In its weekly report, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) writes, “A renewed increase in the number of cases is to be expected for the autumn and winter.” Virologist Christian Drosten recently commented on the rising incidence levels, “I think there are now signs of the autumn and winter wave, which we will probably see again in October.” An exponential increase was to be expected, as was the case last year, he said.

The rising level of infections proves the bankruptcy of the herd immunity strategy, which exposes the population to the virus unprotected, and without even the mitigations that slow the spread of the virus through minimal protective measures. Both strategies lead to the same ultimate result: mass infection with countless deaths, long-term illnesses, and the emergence of even more infectious and deadly variants.

The only way to end the pandemic is a strategy to eradicate the virus worldwide. It requires the use of all the weapons in the arsenal of countermeasures—vaccination, school and factory closures, mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, etc.—coordinated at a global level to eliminate the virus once and for all. Several countries have demonstrated that such a strategy of elimination is possible.

On October 24, the World Socialist Web Site will host an online webinar with leading scientists on the prospect and necessity of this eradication strategy. Register here today to participate!

Loading