The homicidal irresponsibility of the German government’s coronavirus policies

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Every day, 200 to 300 people die from COVID-19 in Germany. The number of new infections recorded daily is 300,000. According to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, the real number is twice as high. Since the start of the pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has recorded 20 million infections. This sad record was reached on Saturday.

Two-thirds of these infections occurred under the “traffic light” coalition. Since the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Liberal Democrats (FDP) took power on December 8, 2021, 13 million people have been infected, twice as many as since the start of the pandemic. The new government is also responsible for a fifth of Germany’s 128,000 deaths.

A woman walks past an abandoned coronavirus test center in Frankfurt, Tuesday, November 2, 2021. Despite the ongoing BA.2 wave, Germany has lifted almost all protective measures. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

And what is he doing to contain the disaster? It abolishes all protective measures. Like a firefighter putting out a fire with gasoline instead of water, he is fueling the pandemic.

Last week, the government passed the new Infection Protection Act, which should instead be called the Deliberate Mass Infections Act. It abolishes almost all previous protective measures and delegates responsibility to the Länder (federal states). While these may introduce mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing rules and similar measures in “hotspots”, the threshold for doing so far exceeds previous ones. The fragmentation of responsibility to federal states is further accentuated by the fragmentation into districts.

The public appearances of Health Minister Lauterbach (SPD) are increasingly taking on a schizophrenic character. He appeared at the government press conference on Friday alongside RKI leader Lothar Wieler and chairwoman of the Marburger Bund of Doctors Susanne Johna and sounded the alarm.

Unfortunately, the situation was not good, complained Lauterbach. Three hundred deaths a day was intolerable and immediate and rapid reactions were needed. Since the federal government’s hands were tied, he said, he directed his appeal to the federal states to do something. It was not enough to hope that the level of incidence would drop as the weather improved, he said. But Lauterbach himself is responsible for the law that ties the hands of the federal government and deprives the states of all effective instruments.

RKI leader Wieler also underlined the desperate nature of the situation. Within a week, 3% of the population had tested positive, he said. More than 4 million people are currently infected, increasing the risk of infection. The pandemic was far from over. “This wave will not be the last wave,” he warned.

Doctors’ representative Johna described the dire situation in hospitals, three-quarters of which had to curtail their services. The reason was the expensive caring for coronavirus patients and the high absence of doctors and nurses who either contracted COVID-19 or quit due to the unbearable workloads.

All three agree on the need to increase vaccination coverage. But nothing remains of the vaccination campaign announced loud and clear by the coalition when it took office. Among the particularly vulnerable over 60s, 2.2 million are still not vaccinated. The mandate for the vaccine is debated to death in endless parliamentary committees and will probably never come into force.

There is a method behind the irresponsibility of the federal government. It is not limited to Germany but characterizes the coronavirus policies of almost every government in the world except China. They have abandoned all responsibility for the health and lives of their own people, even though the social and health consequences of the pandemic are devastating.

In the first two years, taking into account the excess mortality, 18 million people worldwide died from the pandemic. This roughly equals the number of soldiers and civilians who died in action during the four years of the First World War. Most of these deaths could have been prevented with a consistent COVID elimination strategy. Behind every death are those who have lost a parent, friend, breadwinner or child.

There are still no reliable statistics on the health and social consequences of Long COVID. But numerous studies show that it is completely underestimated. The WSWS has repeatedly warned of this danger and asked renowned scientists about it.

An article that appeared in the science section of the FAZ on March 8, giving an overview of the current state of scientific research, concludes: “It is now clear that Long Covid, or – as it is often called in medical terms – “ post-covid’ is, despite all the difficulty of precisely defining the disease and circumscribing the dozens of possible symptoms as well as the heterogeneity of the duration of suffering, almost a mass legacy of the waves of coronavirus infection.

According to a Danish study based on 150,000 respondents, “more than a third of infected people still complain of at least one Covid problem six months to a year after infection, with half reporting exhaustion , persistent memory problems and/or great difficulty concentrating”. . Brain fog, anxiety and other mental health issues also seem to be particularly persistent.

Medical studies have revealed that even mild coronavirus infections can lead to reduced gray matter density in the brain, serious cardiovascular disease and a weakened immune system. Children are also affected. Cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks, heart inflammation, strokes, pulmonary embolisms and venous thrombosis of the legs often occur months after infection.

A social system whose ruling strata are unwilling and unable to protect the life and health of their populations has lost all reason to exist. There is a direct link between the deep global crisis of capitalism and the irresponsible coronavirus policies being carried out.

Social inequalities, which have been rising for decades, have rapidly worsened with the pandemic. As, in the words of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, “the bodies are piled up”, stock prices are reaching new highs. Wall Street banks made record profits of $45 billion in the first three months of last year. The 180,000 workers in the industry received an average annual bonus of $257,500, as much of America’s working class sinks into poverty.

The situation is no different in Germany and in other capitalist countries. The orgy of enrichment for a tiny minority is fueled by central banks, which pump huge sums into the economy in the form of bond purchases and interest-free loans. This speculative bubble is in danger of bursting if the exploitation of the working class does not constantly intensify. This is the main reason for the removal of all coronavirus protections. Profits take precedence over human lives.

The war in Ukraine has further aggravated the crisis of capitalism. Russia’s reactionary attack on Ukraine was systematically planned and deliberately provoked by NATO’s eastward expansion.

NATO’s objective is not only the integration of Ukraine into its sphere of influence, but a change of regime in Moscow and the subjugation of Russia and China, as well as the control of their rich mineral resources. The weekend edition of Handelsblatt appeared with a photo of Putin and Chinese leader Xi in the crosshairs. Below, the short title, “The great battle for raw materials.” He goes on to say: “The war shows dependence on a few producing countries. This is only the beginning: China is establishing monopolies on all important materials, to the detriment of the German economy.

The war serves as a pretext for a vast rearmament offensive. The German military budget is tripled this year, from 50 billion euros to 150 billion euros, the costs of which must be imposed on the working class.

The course of the war, like the reckless coronavirus politics, is supported by all parties, from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to the Left Party. The demands of far-right coronavirus deniers and anti-vaxxers who rioted in the streets last year now form the basis of government action.

The offensive against Russia is characterized by the same disregard for human life as the politics of the coronavirus. Politicians and the media are now openly discussing the pros and cons of a nuclear war that would mean the end of humanity.

Typical is a comment by FAZ editor Berthold Kohler, who wrote that concerns “Putin might use biological, chemical or even nuclear warheads” were “not unwarranted”. Nevertheless, he refuses to consider any concessions or to negotiate a diplomatic solution. “Even if Russia immediately withdrew from Ukraine, there would be no return to pre-war relations for the West, neither politically nor economically.”

The danger of a nuclear world war must be taken seriously. Faced with a global crisis of the capitalist system and fierce class tensions – a “turning point in history”, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz puts it – the German ruling class is once again resorting to war and authoritarian forms of government. He already proved 80 years ago, under Hitler, what desperate acts and crimes he is capable of.

It is totally useless to appeal to the ruling class and its parties under these conditions. The fight against COVID, against war, and against cuts to social programs and wages necessarily coincide. This requires building an independent movement of the international working class fighting for socialism.

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