Corona: Emergency stop in Germany?

Over 20,000 infected, 70 dead: that’s Germany’s corona record. Virologists advise social distancing, governments and administrations have responded. Shops, cinemas, bars and restaurants are closed. Thousands are working from home. Chancellor Angela Merkel also advised social distancing in one of her rare TV speeches to the Germans. However, far too many Germans ignore the advice given by physicians and politicians. That is why Germany is likely to put the brakes on in the foreseeable future, like Italy, Spain and France before. Some federal states, including Bavaria, are already responding with restraints for social life.

In a recent interview, virologist Christian Drosten explained why social distancing ist vital: 70 percent of the population of a country would have to be infected to speak of immunity to the corona virus. That would be more than 60 million people in Germany. In the course of this, more than 8 million serious cases that require intensive care must be expected, explains Drosten, whose podcast on the virus is currently the most important source of information for millions of Germans. If millions of seriously ill people get into the intensive care units over the course of two years, the German health system can easily cope with this. 8 million Germans falling ill within only one year would be a cause for serious concern. All government action is about slowing the spread of the virus. Doctors are now afraid that this doesn’t happen to a sufficient extent. The president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar H. Wieler, warns that weeks ago he asked the clinics to build up intensive care capacities. Now he expects these capacities to exist. The Robert Koch Institut is the governmental institute for disease control.

Germany under all circumstances wants to avoid overloading the hospitals like in Italy. People are confident that the german health care system will succeed on this challenge: “We are not Italy,” is often heard on the street. Are they right? In Brandenburg, doctors are warnig because breathing masks and protective clothing are missing. In addition, testing for the virus takes a very long time at six days.

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