German government rejects lockdown despite spread of Omicron variant

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The global spread of the more infectious Omicron variant of the coronavirus coincides in Germany with a wave of Delta variant infections that is more catastrophic than ever during the pandemic. While new daily infections hit record highs of more than 75,000 a day last week, infections with the new variant have already been found among travelers returning from South Africa to the states of Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Wikimedia Commons)

The situation in hospitals is already totally disastrous. Of the 4,459 COVID intensive care patients nationwide, more than half are on ventilators. According to the Divi intensive care registry, there are 27 children among intensive care patients and the number has recently increased exponentially. Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 138,567 people have been treated with COVID-19 in an intensive care unit.

Germany’s official death toll from COVID-19 has now passed 100,000. In the past week alone, 470,000 people were newly infected and 1,790 died. There are currently between 200 and 300 deaths every day. In many hospitals, intensive care units are at their limit. Critically ill and intubated patients must be flown around the country by specially converted Airbus A310 and A400M military aircraft, as they can no longer be treated in neighboring federal states.

Last weekend alone, 80 people from Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia were airlifted to the north and west of the country by air force troop carriers. As a nurse told the newspaper group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, decisions have to be made which amounts to “triage creeping”.

the Suddeutsche Zeitung reported that normal operations can no longer be maintained in more than 75% of all hospitals in Germany. Planned operations are postponed. Hamburg intensive care doctor Stefan Kluge called the conditions “latent triage” because they are “not hip operations, but, for example, urgent vascular operations in which a aneurysm could burst.”

Internist Michael Hallek (Cologne University Hospital) has already told the Arzteblatte a week ago this “soft triage” takes place, which “occurs, for example, when a heart attack patient who cannot find a hospital with a free intensive care bed is taken for a hour in an ambulance”.

With the mobilization of the German military, the federal and state governments are responding to the consequences of their own policies of mass infection and spending cuts. While health authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia approve carnival parties and football matches with tens of thousands of participants without masks, hospitals in Berlin and Brandenburg are on the verge of collapse. It has long been foreseen that due to the current number of COVID-19 infections, thousands more patients will require hospital care, which will involve relocation, including to other European countries.

Virologists, epidemiologists and health professionals have been warning about such a scenario for months. Several weeks ago, they issued a damning letter urgently demanding “swift action” to prevent a further rise in COVID-19 infections. “The real fourth wave has now begun,” said chief intensive care physician Christian Karagiannidis, one of the first signatories, as early as October 21.

But instead of organizing a strict lockdown to prevent further infections, the government has said maintaining public life and economic activity is its top priority and is therefore approvingly accepting the deaths of hundreds of thousands more people. .

The tone was set by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who called on people to get vaccinated and to “voluntarily” restrict their contacts in a guest article for the Picture, “so that schools and nurseries no longer close, so that we don’t have to completely shut down public life.” Steinmeier said in an address to the German School Teachers’ Congress on Friday: “It must now be our top priority to keep nurseries and schools open.”

This policy of mass infection, pursued by all parties, is in direct contradiction to all the findings of serious scientists.

“With such high numbers, short-term effects would only be expected in the event of a total lockdown,” said Professor Markus Scholz, epidemiologist at the University of Leipzig. School lessons in their current form are “a major driver of the pandemic”, according to Scholz, who insisted, “Hard lockdown and closed schools – only that can help”.

Even the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences, considered close to the government, issued a statement on Saturday calling for “immediate measures” to achieve “significant reductions in contacts” and to advance school holidays. In addition, a “re-establishment of vaccination centers nationwide” and a “further strengthening of local vaccination offers” are necessary so that “by Christmas, in addition to the first and second vaccinations, approximately 30 million third doses are possible”.

In order to stop “the exponential increase in new infections”, the scientists concluded, it is necessary “to reduce the number of contacts considerably for a few weeks from the beginning of the coming week”. This must “also apply to vaccinated and recovered persons who should receive a booster vaccination during this period”.

But members of the planned traffic-light coalition government made it clear again last week that they had no intention of doing anything to even mitigate the impending wave of mass deaths. On Friday, Liberal Democrat (FDP) General Secretary Volker Wissing referred to the “federal states toolbox” – which the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and FDP had restricted by voting to amend the law a few days earlier.

Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock said she would wait ten days to “watch” the evolution of the pandemic and vaccinations. No immediate action is needed, she added, just another meeting between the heads of the federal and state governments.

There is growing resistance among workers and youth to this criminal policy, which consciously prioritizes the profits of the economy over the lives of the people.

“Steinmeier calls for ‘voluntary action’ and the traffic light coalition watches people die,” Twitter user Andrea Z. wrote in a popular post. “We are not people; we are numbers and we have to pay. End of the story. They send us into the pandemic with as little hesitation as they sent us into wars. He’s the same kind of terrible person.

Pediatrician Dr Werner explained: “Tens of thousands of children are infected with COVID – because their infection protection is not supported! In my 25 years as a pediatrician, there has never been an infectious disease that has made so many children so seriously ill in such a short time. The house is on fire and the infection of the children must not continue like this! Paediatricians and parents need to stick together.

Carsten, a supporter of the fight for safe education, remarked of the Traffic Light Coalition’s amendment to the Infection Protection Act: “There is a direct causal relationship between the banning of effective non-pharmaceutical measures such as contact restrictions and the death toll from SARS-CoV-2 The Greens, SPD and FDP should be tried for crimes against humanity.

As for German courts, however, they have ruled lockdowns and curfews during the pandemic unconstitutional and have played a pivotal role in even removing mask mandates from classrooms.

The Socialist Equality Party, which is the only party to fight for a democratic and human solution to the crisis since the start of the pandemic, remains under surveillance by the secret services with the agreement of justice.

Those responsible for the politics of profit before life can only be held accountable through an international working class movement. the World Socialist Website launched the Global Workers’ Survey into the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on all readers to support this initiative and establish grassroots committees in workplaces, schools and neighborhoods that will decide and implement the urgently needed measures.

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