German government ends COVID-19 measures despite BA.2 wave

Students wear face masks during a ceremony marking the 32nd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Contrary to politicians’ and media’s claims that the peak of the Omicron wave has passed, daily COVID-19 infection and death rates have again increased massively since the beginning of the month. Omicron’s even more contagious BA.2 subvariant, which is considered by experts to be the most dangerous of the SARS-CoV-2 variants, already accounts for 48% of all COVID-19 infections in Germany.

The latest weekly report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) states that “the current further increase in transmitted COVID-19 cases” is “due to the easier transmissibility of the BA.2 subvariant and the withdrawal of protective measures. contact reduction. The number of people currently affected by acute respiratory illnesses related to COVID-19 has increased in almost all age groups and is estimated at “between 1.2 and 2.1 million”. More than one million new cases were reported last week.

The number of new infections is higher than ever. According to the RKI, the highest incidence rates are still found in children and adolescents aged 5 to 24, with 7-day incidence rates of around 2,000 COVID-19 cases per 100,000. inhabitants, followed by age groups from 0 to 4 years and 25 to 44 years with an incidence of approximately 1,800 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The number of outbreaks in nursing homes and nursing homes also continued to increase compared to the previous week. The RKI warns that around 2.2 million and 7.7 million people in the oldest and second oldest age groups, respectively, have yet to receive a single vaccination.

Despite this catastrophic situation, the federal government of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Liberal Democrats (FDP) insists on eliminating almost all protective measures by March 20, ending mask mandates and completely excluding the confinements. A corresponding bill by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) passed the government cabinet on Wednesday and is expected to go through Parliament and the Federal Council, Germany’s upper house, in the next few days.

As Lauterbach and Buschmann confirmed to ZDF, state governments will in future only be able to impose regulations on masks and testing in care homes and hospitals, as well as testing in schools and masks in public transport, in general. In particular, the ministers’ bill provides for the end of the mandate of the mask in schools and supermarkets, as well as the obligation for restaurants, bars and other “offers to the public” to create an effective hygiene plan to prevent infections.

Under ‘hotspot regulations’, state parliaments will only be allowed to reintroduce mask rules, social distancing rules and access restrictions only locally and for a limited period to meet the “new epidemics”, with disturbing virus variants, or “a high number of cases.” To this end, however, the parliament of the relevant state must first determine a “concrete risk of a dynamically spreading infection situation” – a wording that places virtually no limits on the discretionary power of state politicians. ‘State.

After the parties in the Traffic Light Coalition Government decided in November to lift the law declaring an epidemic emergency of national importance, they are now going a step further with the amendment to the Infection Protection Act. Justice Minister Buschmann told the press with satisfaction that in everyday life “there will be hardly any restrictions anymore”.

Health Minister Lauterbach’s assertion that the new law still allows states to “respond appropriately” to “new outbreaks” and a possible “summer surge” of COVID-19 is nothing more than a smoke screen. His cabinet colleague, Mr Buschmann, stressed that states will not be able to “invent” more ambitious measures that are not provided for in the bill, such as curfews and closures, as well as closures of businesses and schools.

When asked why neither incidence rates nor hospitalizations played a role in amending the law, Lauterbach provocatively stated that “explicitly no numbers were mentioned” because that ” wouldn’t make medical sense.” In other words, no matter how many people become infected, hospitalized or die in the future, there will be no more mandatory measures.

In the past, the government tried to argue that incidence rates and infections were no longer decisive because of vaccinations. Now even hospitalizations and deaths no longer play a role. For a policy whose primary objective is to safeguard the capitalist economy in order to generate profits, the loss of human life matters little.

In total, more than 125,000 people have already died from COVID-19 in Germany alone, and another 250 are being added every day. While Thursday’s incidence rate was 1,388 infections per 100,000 population, the adjusted incidence of hospitalizations is within the range of the highest alert level in weeks and is rising. The number of cases is also exploding in other European countries. In Denmark, where the government stopped all measures in early February, the death toll is higher than ever.

The new law will massively intensify the spread of COVID, especially in schools and families. Although leading federal politicians – including Lauterbach himself – have repeatedly cited the alleged primacy of federal states in school policy in order to fend off demands for better protection of children and youth, the federal government now immediately preparing to enforce the abolition of mask mandates in schools. In Austria, a similar policy has led to more than 50% of all school children being infected with the coronavirus, of which more than 250,000 have been infected since the end of the Christmas holidays.

Given that testing capacity will be used primarily for public institutions, and will not be increased, a particularly large number of elderly people and people with pre-existing conditions who live with their children and grandchildren, or are cared for burdened by them, are at risk of dying. This is in line with a policy that does everything in its power to shift blame for the mass death and shift it to the “private sphere”. In the language of the FDP, people should die “freely” and “autonomously” in the circle of their loved ones.

In a popular post, an account called “Risk Family” wrote on Twitter: “How are the seven million at-risk patients under 60 protected? Like the 700,000 high-risk patients under the age of 18? Fundamental rights such as the right to life and integrity no longer count? With these regulations, patients at risk who do not live in the nursing home, but among us, are in danger. By what right are their fundamental rights further and massively restricted? »

An adoptive mother of two children with disabilities wrote: “Without masks in the supermarket, we won’t go shopping anymore. Leisure is impossible, except for walks in the forest. So we will be completely isolated, [our child], my wife and I. How long are we supposed to live like this? Is it even a life? What is the alternative? Risking our son infecting his little sister? Then both lives would be destroyed.

Under the slogan #SchwereSchuld (serious guilt), countless social media users are demanding that politicians be held accountable for their murderous decisions. Other users point out that infected people who survive COVID-19 infection often fall into the category of a “vulnerable group” due to Long Covid – a vicious cycle that points to the eugenics principle of “survival of the most”. apt “.

Web developer Markus M. tweeted: ‘It’s not ‘personal responsibility’ if nurses continue to burn out, life-saving surgeries are postponed, students are infected every few weeks, millions are sick with a long covid and so on – but rather inhumane dementia!” Another Twitter user added, “More disease, more death, more suffering and misery. Speak the truth and stand up to the politicians who actually want to walk over corpses and bullshit about ‘normality’ and ‘freedom’.”

The traffic light coalition is fully aware of the catastrophic consequences of its policy. The very day before the announcement of the law change, Lauterbach indicated his agreement with a British study, according to which even “relatively mild” courses of COVID-19 can be associated with the loss of gray matter in the brain, which which means a massive increase in the risk of dementia. On Wednesday, the Minister of Health even said that if the vaccination rate remains unchanged – and the government does nothing to increase it – “there will be 200 to 300 deaths every day for many weeks”.

A study from Tübingen University Hospital, which interviewed around 1,900 people infected with the coronavirus, concluded that the risk of Long Covid is higher the more pre-existing conditions a patient has. Forty-six percent of outpatients still had symptoms 12 weeks after infection, compared to 73 percent of hospitalized patients. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they survived their COVID-19 infection at home.

As children and their loved ones are infected and killed in the interests of the profit economy, federal and state governments are also cutting funds from public services in order to invest them in rearmament and war. This is particularly striking in the capital, Berlin, where the SPD/Left Party/Greens state government, the so-called Red-Red-Green Senate, recently decided to cut annual funding for public schools in all fields. .


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