“Most teachers of faith defend their sentences not because they are convinced of their truth, but because they once claimed this truth” (Georg C. Lichtenberg, physicist, 18th century)
“Consider it the greatest sin to prefer one’s existence to one’s own dignity, and for the sake of life to give up the reasons for which it is worth living” (Juvenal, Roman writer, born 60 AD)
“It is not life as such that our political community wants to protect at all costs, but life in dignity. This gives us the right to live in a society that looks different from that of North Korea“ (Uwe Volkmann, legal philosopher, FAZ 1.4.2020)
Since there ist, besides many approving voices, occasionally also constructive criticism on this regularly revised artikel about the Corona crisis: I don’t claim to have a monopoly on truth. Truth is not a scientific category – the core of all scientificity is doubt. Therefore it is my intention to show that there are increasingly critical voices about the current political management of the corona crisis, mostly from renowned scientists or from the mainstream press, and that other conclusions can then be drawn. Only the future will decide whom we will have to “forgive” (Jens Spahn).
In any case, a surveillance policy is already emerging that threatens our civil liberties. And it is becoming increasingly clear that we are harming our children by putting them under fear and depriving them of the right to full communication and education.
Attempting to eradicate the coronavirus would inevitably lead to a health dictatorship. More and more people wish that someone would finally pull the ripcord.
For future “epidemic situations of national significance“, one would like to see a voluntary commitment by governments, as outlined by David McCoy, Professor of Global Public Health at Queen Mary University in London, in his “Corona Manifesto” (blogBMJ 29.4.2020):
- We will address covid-19 comprehensively and fairly. We will recognise the social, political, and economic dimensions of this virus, and ensure that it doesn’t worsen pre-existing social and economic inequalities. We will guard against the propensity for crises to produce opportunities for unethical exploitation and egregious profiteering….
- We will be guided not just by infectious disease experts, but also by economists, social scientists, ethicists, lawyers and philosophers, so that we produce holistic response to this complex challenge….
- We will not talk down to people…
- We will ensure that the cost of covid-19 does not result in even greater levels of inequality in wealth and power, but is an opportunity to ensure a redistribution of wealth….
Update 7.6.2020: The pandemic is over – probably forever
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has changed our society beyond recognition. Now the pandemic is over for now . New infections are decreasing day by day and disappearing in the background noise (see curve p. 8 at RKI 9.5.2020). According to more recent model calculations, herd immunity is already achieved at an infestation of 7 to 18 percent, because most people have good natural immunity and are not susceptible to the virus. Many top-class scientists therefore consider the second wave of disease conjured up by some virologists to be unlikely (e.g. BS 24.3.2020, ToI 19.4.2020, Kuhbandner 26.4.2020, Lewis 10.5.2020; Ioannidis 19.5.2020, Walach 22.5.2020). For Gerd Antes, former STIKO member, the ominous second wave “is one of the images used to stir up fear” (Badische Zeitung 23.5.2020).
In any case, betting on a “second wave” is not a sufficient reason for continuing the state of emergency: The protection of life is not a “goal that can be handled in terms of fundamental rights,” as constitutional law expert Oliver Lepsius writes. From a constitutional point of view, it must not be about fighting the virus, but only about “optimal control of the course of the pandemic on the scale of medical capacity”. And there is not any prospect of excessive demand (BR 28.5.2020).
Lepsius goes on to write that interventions in fundamental rights must always be proven, and that government politicians owe us this proof: “The constitutional state is heavily soiled. Hygiene under the rule of law must urgently be restored, otherwise the greatest risk of infection is looming here” (Lepsius 6.4.2020).
However, misleading, frightening figures continue to be published – for example by the Robert Koch Institute, which reported an increasing number of infections in the second week of May despite falling infection figures (Merkur 10.5.2020). It was the result of increasing test numbers. A similar case war the allegation of the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen on 15 May that school closures and contact restrictions had stopped the spread of SARS-CoV2 (Dehning 15.5.2020). However, the calculations do not take into account the exponential increase in testing nor the time delay until the report. They can safely be described as wrong, as “scrap of numbers” (Rabe 17.5.2020). The reversal point of the pandemic was already in the first half of March, before the measures mentioned above were ordered. We can, we must open our kindergartens and schools, just as many other European countries have done before us.
Parents have recently been panicked by press reports that children could suffer from a serious after-effect of COVID-19, the Kawasaki syndrome. This is a blood vessel inflammation that causes a similar clinical picture to measles and in rare cases also affects the heart. In Germany, 400 to 500 children contract the disease every year. The prognosis is very good. For years, Kawasaki’s syndrome has been associated with corona viruses, and these viruses account for between 5 and 35% of all respiratory infections (Esper 2005). So basically nothing new. In Germany, no accumulation of Kawasaki disease has been found so far Ärzteblatt 24.5.2020). At the end of May the news came that SARS CoV2 was found in breast milk – in one(!) of two nursing mothers (SWR 27.5.2020). What other purpose does such a report have than to keep the panic level high? When neither young women nor babies have any risk?
We must now do everything we can to regain our democratic freedoms, our social life, our enjoyment of life, and to avoid economic and social collapse. The first step has been taken with the so-called “loosening up”, which is gaining momentum as a result of pressure from the citizens. Now it is up to Parliament to withdraw the authorization of the Federal Minister of Health and end the state of emergency. Obligation to wear masks and restrictions on contact must be lifted, kindergartens, schools, theatres and cinemas, catering establishments and national borders must be reopened unconditionally.
The COVID-19 disease: risks overestimated
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has changed our society beyond recognition. We must now do everything possible to regain our democratic liberties, our social life, our desire to live, and to avoid economic and social collapse. The pressure on politics is increasing, democratic reflexes are working.
The disease caused by the virus – COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease) – is comparable in infection rate and symptoms to a more severe influenza (Scheller 24.3.20; Ioannidis 18.4.2020). It is not significantly more dangerous than other respiratory diseases that roam the country year after year, but for which viral tests are rarely carried out: “The mortality rate for SARS-CoV-2 does not differ significantly from that of the common corona viruses identified in a French clinic in this study” (Roussell 19.3.2020). The renowned forensic scientist Prof. Klaus Püschel took stock after the autopsy of about one hundred people who died of COVD-19: “Covid-19 is a serious but not a particularly dangerous disease” (Focus 24.4.2020). In the opinion of a prominent group of health experts, it is “no reason to question or even override all rules, everything in common, everything social in a quasi metaphysical exaggeration” (Schrappe 3.5.2020).
It is likely that a large part of the population is immune to SARS-CoV-2 due to previous contact with corona viruses or due to a robust defence system on the mucous membranes, so that only a small part falls ill – immunologists speak of “dark matter”, i.e. an immunity that cannot be detected by laboratory tests (n-tv 24.4.2020, Guardian 7.6.2020). Thus, 80 to 90 percent of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 go through the infection without symptoms (Science 16.3.2020; BMJ 2.4.2020). Most likely they are not contagious: The study in the New England Journal of Medicine, in which this was claimed and on which, by the way, Christian Drosten also collaborated (Rothe 2020), was faulty (Science 3.2.2020). However, it was essentially used to justify the distance rules and the obligation to wear masks. Healthy people most probably do not infect anyone. However, people could be contagious the day before the outbreak of the disease. Routine and repeated virus tests make sense for people with close contact to risk persons, such as geriatric nurses. A quick test would be ideal here.
In 10 to 20 percent of those infected, a manifest “flu-like infection” with fever and cough occurs. Children and healthy adults rarely fall seriously ill. The mortality rate of COVID-19 is practically zero percent in people under 30 years of age. Pregnant women and their children do not have an increased risk either.
Only a small proportion of those infected fall seriously ill. The typical complication of COVID-19 disease is pneumonia with coughing and shortness of breath. The infection can also lead to vasculitis or pulmonary embolism and thus disturb the transport of oxygen to the lungs and put strain on the heart (DÄ 20.4.2020, scinexx 24.4.2020). More severe respiratory distress requires intensive medical treatment with oxygen administration, anticoagulants and infusions, as extreme measures also artificial respiration. In the meantime, however, it is medical knowledge that at the beginning of the epidemic ventilation was given much too early, which significantly increased mortality.
The risk of dying from a SARS-CoV2 infection is according to the review by Prof. John Ioannidis 0.02 to 0.4 percent (Ioannidis 19.5.2020), which is more or less at the level of a seasonal influenza, and much lower than initially feared (Ioannidis 19.5.2020). Fatal courses almost exclusively affect very old people in nursing homes who are heavily overweight and suffer from severe chronic diseases. “Age itself is not a disease. However, older people are more likely to suffer from diseases, and the extent of these pre-existing conditions is relevant” (Klaus Püschel in SPIEGEL 25.4.2020). The virologist Heinrich Streeck from Bonn “took a closer look at the cases of 31 of the 40 deceased from the Heinsberg district – and was not very surprised that these people died” (ZEIT 6.4.2020). In Hamburg, the number of registered COVID-9 deaths fell to almost half, after only counting those who had died of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia ( t-online 2.4.2020).
The overall mortality of the population is therefore always significantly higher in the winter half of the year than in the summer half (EuroMOMO April 2020). In Germany, 300,000 people with pneumonia are treated as inpatients every year, and about 60,000 of them die. The group of corona viruses alone leads to millions of respiratory tract infections every year and is fatal in up to eight percent of elderly people in need of care (Statnews 17.3.2020). People in nursing homes die on average within six months (Kelly 2010).
Since the mortality rate for influenza was very low in 2020, some of the survivors fell victim to COVID-19 disease. Many patients, who would normally have died peacefully in a nursing home, were now taken to hospital for intensive care and respiration, although they had virtually no chance of survival – “a group that usually and until now has received more palliative care than intensive care, and now a new disease is diagnosed and all these patients are turned into intensive care patients… these are very wrong priorities and all ethical principles that we know are violated” (palliative physician Matthias Thöns in DF 13.4.2020).
Isolated reports of severe COVID-19 courses in younger people make people sit up and take notice and are probably also being deliberately launched, but they are not surprising: people under the age of 65 also die of influenza every year, but the risk is extremely low (Rabe 2020). The mortality rate of COVID-19 is less than 0.01% for people under 65 years of age, which is roughly equivalent to the probability of a fatal accident when driving 7.5 kilometres to work every day (Ioannidis 19.5.2020; Ioannidis 8.4.2020).
All mortality calculations have a significant risk of bias and tend to grossly overestimate the risk (Schrappe 5.4.2020). People who have died of another disease but who happen to have had a positive SARS-CoV2 test are also included in the statistics as “corona deaths”. By advising against autopsies, the Robert Koch Institute has prevented the discovery of such connections.
The alarming mortality rates of several per cent in Northern Italy were calculated from the mortality risk of patients who had already been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and had been admitted to hospital (Corriere de la Sera 27.3.2020). Only half of the additional 25,000 people who died in March 2020 had COVID-19 disease (ISTAT 4.5.2020). In the first weeks of March, Italy was in a state of chaos, with many Eastern European carers fleeing home for fear of curfews, and hundreds if not thousands of dried-out people in need of care were driven to understaffed hospitals, where many became infected (heise 3.4.2020).
Countries with a high mortality rate, such as Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden or the USA, are characterised by profit-oriented, poorly equipped and understaffed nursing homes and hospitals. In England, more than two-thirds of the 30,000 or so people who have died are thought to have died of medical and nursing care deficits, or by the fact that many patients were sent from hospitals back to nursing homes without being tested. In addition, many patients were ventilated too early and aggressively and thus infected with multi-resistant germs, or they were treated with risky drugs. Patients who are left largely alone have the highest chance of survival (ÄB 22.4.2020).
Underprivileged people under storage conditions also have an increased risk of dying: Refugees, prisoners, homeless and Low-wage workers in collective accommodation such as in slaughterhouses (Ioannidis 19.5.2020; SZ 21.5.2020). In overcrowded, poorly ventilated rooms, a particularly high virus concentration develops.
By 12 April (15th calendar week), the European mortality monitoring showed an overall mortality rate that roughly corresponded to that of winter 2016/17 (EuroMOMO 22.4.2020). In the whole month of April 2020, however, there were clear signs of excess mortality – above all in Italy, Spain, France and England (EuroMOMO Mai 2020) as well as in Sweden, where it then fell significantly again without a lockdown (MBez 23.4.2020; FOHM). The additional deaths represent less than one percent of the more than 5 million deaths that occur each year in Europe.
It should be borne in mind that the mortality curves in the mentioned EU countries were high, but very narrow. In recent years, the curves were lower but wider, so the deaths were spread over a longer period of time. Ultimately the area under the curve is decisive (Walach 6.5.2020). In 2020, this could be the same or similar to that of previous years, or even smaller if the curve subsequently swings downwards, as already observed in France in mid-May (EuroMOMO w20 2020).
According to a special evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office by mid-April, the number of deaths in Germany in 2020 is in the range of 2016, 2017 and 2019 and lower than 2018 (destatis 8.5.2020). The Ifo Institute confirms that in spring 2020 there was not even among the elderly an extraordinary death rate. There could not be established any connection with the restrictions on public life, which were only imposed at a late stage (ifo 23.5.2020). However, the low mortality rate may be related to the fact that nursing homes were isolated relatively early (Guardian 7.6.2020).
Mortality rates due to heart attacks, strokes and other serious diseases are also eagerly awaited: Many emergency patients are now avoiding hospital outpatient clinics because they are afraid of getting infected there – a collateral effect of Corona-Panic that should not be underestimated (SZ 10.4.2020).
In mid-May 2020, a senior government council in the Federal Ministry of the Interior pointed out that the pandemic measures could have caused many more deaths than COVID-19, due to lower levels of care in nursing homes, an increase in suicides, cancer detected too late and postponed therapies. The more than one million postponed operations alone – including more than 50,000 cancer operations (BILD 24.5.2020) – could have led or could lead to thousands to tens of thousands of deathscould have led or could lead to thousands to over one hundred thousand deaths (report in Merkur 13.5.2020; SPIEGEL 10.5.2020; the explosive paper can be downloaded here). The criticism of the inadequate crisis management in the Corona policy was rejected by Minister of the Interior Seehofer as unauthorised, the whistle blower was suspended from duty (ZEIT 11.5.2020). However, he received support from numerous experts (BgA 12.5.2020, BILD 13.5.2020).
Closures and curfews: Neither necessary nor appropriate
Special about SARS-CoV-2 was the fear that a large number of people could become seriously ill within a short period of time, putting an excessive strain on the health system. Radical measures were to be taken to prevent people from dying because they can no longer be treated. In particular, risk groups should have been protected from infection as far as possible. By thinning the contacts, the wave of infection should have been flattened and stretched (“flatten the curve”) – in the hope that treatment options or an effective vaccination will eventually be available.
However, a vaccine that has at least begun to be tested for its safety cannot be expected before mid-2021 – if it ever gets that far: The four SARS coronavirus vaccines developed to date led to life-threatening lung diseases in animal experiments a few days after infection with coronaviruses (Tseng 20.4.2012). The suspension of regulations for the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines as demanded by virologists and politicians has already been implemented: In the USA, people were vaccinated for the first time before animal experiments were even carried out (SPIEGEL 17.3.2020).
However, there is no scientific basis for the imposition of extensive initial restrictions, “social distancing” and compulsory masks for the entire population (see EBM-Netzwerk März 20-3-2020). The politics of “flatten the curve” could even be counterproductive, because it prolongs the time until herd immunity is achieved and thus the disease activity (Wittkowski 28.3.2020). In a thesis paper published on April 5, 2020, which has been considered by many, but apparently not by all, six prominent health experts wrote: “The general prevention measures (e.g. social distancing) are theoretically poorly secured, their effectiveness is limited and moreover paradoxical (the more effective, the greater the danger of a “second wave”) and they are not efficient with regard to their collateral damage” (Schrappe 5.4.2020).
Moreover, the lockdown measures are dangerous to health, as the predecessor of virologist Christian Drosten at the Charité Berlin, Detlev Krüger, points out in an interview: “You cannot lock people up if you want to protect against infection. If you lock people up, it is catastrophic for their physical and mental constitution. And both work together in the defense against infection. We have done studies on how stress increases susceptibility to viral infections. And were able to show clearly that this is the case” (Krüger 29.3.2020). The human immune system is a learning system through constant exposure to bacteria and viruses. The oral phase, children playing with each other, hugging and kissing, rubbing eyes or nose – all this stimulates the immune system and makes it stronger. That is why the current rules of distance and hygiene are rather counterproductive in the long run.
A rapid infestation of young people could have brought the epidemic to an end just as quickly or even more quickly without causing much economic and social damage (Vernazza 20.2.2020, Lohse 29.3.2020, Schrappe 5.4.2020). Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Sweden have pursued this policy (NR 6.4.2020; Welt 15.4.2020). Some virologists are calling for the same for Germany – how courageous at a time when there seems to be only one official line (gmx.net 7.6.2020). In Sweden, apart from the ban on major events, there were no regulations, only appeals to responsibility. Hotels, restaurants and day-care centres remained open, and pupils up to grade 9 continued to go to school without any apparent COVID-19 outbreaks. The problem has been the inconsistent protection of old people’s homes, where precariously paid nurses have spread the disease rapidly by constantly changing locations.
Like most cold viruses, COVID-19 could have an activity period of about two months (Wittkowski 28.3.2020). The rates of new infections in China and South Korea already fell sharply again in March. In Italy, Germany and other European countries, the number of new cases – when adjusted for the sharp increase in test numbers – fell from the beginning to mid-March 2020 and the number of deaths from the beginning of April (Kuhbandner 20.4.2020). According to the figures from Sweden, the necessary screening for herd immunity is not 50 to 70%, but 7 to 24% (in Stockholm it was 17%), which has now been achieved in most countries (Lewis 10.5.2020).
The number of people infected by a sick person – the so-called reduction number – has already fallen to below 1 in Germany since the third week of March 2020 (EB 15.4.2020). This ist not a consequence of the lockdown measures imposed from 23 March onwards, as these could have had an effect on new infections only after two weeks and on the death figures after three weeks (WELT 15.4.2020). The measures had no discernible influence on the course and level of the standardised case and infection numbers (Walach 6.5.2020, Kuhbandner 1.6.2020). Kuhbandner et al. write: “RKI publications suggest that the pandemic receded autonomously in Germany before any governmental
measures were taken“. The ETH Zurich published the same findings for Switzerland (LZ 16.5.2020). The Swiss epidemiologist notes that even simple measures such as not holding major events and introducing hygiene measures almost stopped the epidemic and saved the hospitals from collapsing.
One wonders more like Markus Lanz (Lanz 23.4.2020): Was the lockdown necessary at all? And was it effective? Then why didn’t the reproduction number go down even further during the six weeks of contact lockdown? Minister of Health Spahn did not inform the public until April 17 that the infection rate had been below 1 for weeks.
In their thesis paper 2.0 on the pandemic, the authors ask: “What is the reason for the late publication? Above all: how is the obvious finding to be interpreted that no further decline was observed under the tightened restrictions on freedom of occupation and freedom of movement. The observation is quite compatible with the assumption that no further effect has resulted from these measures… There are clear indications for the assumption that simple measures such as banning major events would have been sufficient” (Schrappe 3.5.2020).
Prof. Harald Walach writes in his article “The wave is over” on 6 May (Walach 6.5.2020):
“What in my view can in no way be deduced from the data
- that the “measures” have had an effect
- that the wearing of mouthguards, homemade, crocheted, knitted or purchased, is still helpful
- that we are dealing with a killer virus
- that we have to be careful for a long time, and preferably suspend our lives for a year
- that the fear that many people still have is justified.”
What a finding after many weeks of lockdown and social distancing!
All figures in the Corona Circus are unreliable at best: The number and reliability of laboratory tests is somewhere between 96 and 100 % (Conversation 6.4.2020), which, as the number of tests increases and the number of infections decreases, means that the number of false positives is ultimately greater than the number of people actually infected. Only suspect cases are usually tested, and there are severe reporting delays. All information provided by the health authorities is based on rough and error-prone estimates (Rabe 18.4.2020).
The Robert Koch Institute in particular stands out for its scare tactics and misleading reports. It disseminates graphs in which the new cases are added to the number of old cases so that there can be no decrease at all, or relates the number of deaths to the number of positively tested persons despite the high number of unreported cases (Schrappe 3.5.2020, ZDF 11.5.2020). Vice President Lars Schaade whispered on 21.4. that anyone could become seriously ill and nobody could feel safe (RKI 21.4.2020). On the same day, his boss Lothar Wieler emphasised: “There is no end of the epidemic in sight, the number of cases may rise again” and “even if there are no more cases, we must adhere to distance rules” (Wiehler 21.4.2020): Masks and distance rules forever?
The measures taken ultimately lack justification. The lockdown was only ordered when the worst was already over. It was possibly the most disastrous political mistake in German post-war history. It is now up to parliament to end this state of emergency of “epidemic situation of national importance” and to take back the power of the Minister of Health.
It was also repeatedly reported, incorrectly, that the Swedish government is abandoning the special path of getting through the crisis with less drastic measures (Tagesschau 12.4.2020). The facts speak a different language: The Luxembourg (!) newspaper Tageblatt reports on April 14 under the headline “Sweden: Loose corona strategy seems to be working“: “Despite gloomy prophecies of doom from home and abroad about Sweden’s supposedly far too loose approach to the corona crisis, there are now increasing signs that the pandemic is under control, even though almost everything has been allowed to happen… According to the prognosis, by the end of April half the population could have carried the virus inside them, often without realizing it or only with very mild symptoms. Then a kind of herd immunity takes hold. Because there are so many who are immune, the virus has a hard time spreading further, for example to risk groups” (Tageblatt 14.4.2020). At the end of April, the World Health Organization ennobled the Swedish way. Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, said: “They have implemented public policy through that partnership with the population… I think if we are to reach a new normal, Sweden represents a model if we wish to get back to a society in which we don’t have lockdowns” (Nau 30.4.2020).
The German Ethics Council points out (Ethikrat 27.3.2020): “Systemic dangers from the restrictions can be predicted in almost all social subsystems… Above all, however, a collapse of the market economy as a whole is to be feared… The justification of these lockdown measures requires an extremely complex weighing of goods under conditions of uncertainty from their introduction and for every point in time during their duration… The protection of human life does not apply absolutely either. It must not be unconditionally subordinated or subordinated to all other rights of freedom and participation as well as economic, social and cultural rights. A general chance of dying is to be acceptable to everyone.”
On 7 April, an ad hoc recommendation of the Ethics Council stated: “Looking at the need to help those affected by Covid-19 sometimes leads one to lose sight of the victims of the lockdown. After all, it is not only the economy that secures our livelihood that is at stake if we continue the lockdown in this way. No: important operations, often euphemistically referred to as “elective”, are also being postponed. Preventive examinations are cancelled. Therapies to overcome psychological problems, alcohol addiction, depression or tendency to violence are interrupted despite the threat of high relapse rates. Sick and dying people are no longer accompanied in the way humanity requires. Funerals, this important ritual of coping with grief, are reduced to the minimum often perceived as inhuman. Existences break up in loneliness or in the face of perceived hopelessness from economic and other predicaments” (Ethikrat 7.4.2020).
The corona lockdown puts the economic existence of countless people at risk and puts our rich cultural landscape and gastronomic scene in danger (FAZ 16.4.2020; STERN 16.4.2020; Tagesspiegel 16.4.2020). Social inequality will be increased because the poorest of the poor will be particularly hard hit: refugees, homeless people, drug addicts and recipients of transfer payments (RND 31.3.2020). Epidemiologist Gérard Kraus raises concerns: “We know that unemployment, for example, causes illness and even increased mortality. It can also drive people to suicide. Such consequences are not easy to calculate directly, but they do occur nevertheless and they can possibly be more serious than the consequences of the infections themselves” (ZDF 29.3.2020). Prof. Stefan Homburg adds in the Neue Züricher Zeitung: “Who counts the people who have died because of postponed operations? Who counts the suicides, which experience has shown to increase even during mild recessions? And who considers that in the long run, an ailing economy will have to make cuts in the health system as well?” (NZZ 15.4.2020). John Ioannidis even speaks of possible consequences such as unrest, civil war, wars and the collapse of the social fabric. He says: “If we decide to jump off the cliff, we need some data that tells us about the logic of such a step and the chances of landing somewhere safe” (Statnews 17.3.2020).
The consequences of the global economic downturn caused by the containment measures are still completely unforeseeable in the poorer countries of the world. Forecasts predict that 35 to 65 million people will fall into absolute poverty. In India, for example, millions of day laborers have been sent back to their villages. As a result of the slump in tourism, millions in Indonesia, Thailand or South Africa are without income and receive no state aid whatsoever. The UN warn of a famine of biblical proportions (ZDF 22.4.2020). In the end this will cause many more people to starve to death than there are deaths from the corona virus (Welt 9.4.2020). The motto “Preserve life at all costs” gets a completely different note. Worldwide there is also a curtailment of human rights and persecution and murder for racist or political motives (Misereor 24.4.2020).
The total lockdown was a panic reaction, but ist was not without alternatives. Just as effective and less drastic and risky are limited and targeted quarantine measures – Sweden has shown us how (even if the mortality rates there were temporarily higher). They could be supplemented by frequent virus testing of health and care workers (“institutional contact”) and special control measures in regional disease clusters (Schrappe 5.4.2020). Already at the end of March, the Ethics Council warned against switching over to the “development of effective and tolerable protection/isolation strategies for risk groups (pre-existing conditions, elderly people) and in certain institutions (e.g. facilities for elderly and long-term care)” (Ethikrat 27.3.2020). With virus-proof face masks especially indoors, everyone who wants to or needs to be protected could be protected.
How careful we have to be here, however, is shown by the dispute between the Minister of Health Jens Spahn (“We will have to ask the elderly to stay at home in case of doubt for several months”) and the geriatrician and psychiatrist Johannes Pantel (“That leaves me speechless… that is unconstitutional!”) (ARD 6.4.2020). Patient protectors lament the “deprivation of freedom” of nursing home residents and demand a “humane” concept for all inpatient facilities (Presseportal 30.5.2020).
The questions come to mind: Do grandparents really not want to see their children or grandchildren for months? What price do we pay for the longest possible life? Where does the alleged legal right to health lead us (Walach 3.4.2020)?
Vaccination against coronavirus: problems and risks
According to experts, a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, which has been tested for safety at least to some extent, is not to be expected before mid 2021 – if it ever gets that far. Some scientists, including Prof. David Nabarro, one of the leading COVID-19 experts and special representative of the WHO, consider it questionable: “You cannot develop a safe and effective vaccination against every virus”. Nabarro criticises the importance attributed to the vaccine and believes that we should rather learn to live with the virus (heute 20.4.2020). The virologist Prof. Hendrik Streeck has also expressed himself in this direction (Merkur 25.4.2020).
Due to the similarity of virus proteins to human proteins, a coronavirus vaccination could lead to autoimmune reactions. The SARS coronavirus vaccines developed some years ago led to severe lung diseases in animal experiments a few days after a targeted infection with coronaviruses (Tseng 20.4.2012). Most vaccine candidates also involve risky novel technologies for which no clinical experience in humans is available: Vaccines with messenger RNA or viral vectors (“gene shuttles”) that invade human cells, where they start the production of vaccine antigens and thus trigger the desired defence reaction. There is a risk of serious side effects (l. Arvay 3.5.2020). The approval of such vaccines that bypass the established safety standards (“fast-track approval”), which was made possible by the recent amendment to the German Protection against Infection Act, is irresponsible. Nevertheless, the suspension of regulations demanded by virologists and politicians has already been put into practice: In the USA, people were vaccinated for the first time before animal experiments were even carried out (SPIEGEL 17.3.2020). An obstacle to vaccine testing is the rapid withdrawal of the pandemic in many countries. British scientists are now demanding that they be allowed to deliberately infect test persons with SARS CoV2 because the effectiveness of the vaccine can no longer be clarified by natural infection (Guardian 24.5.2020).
A major ethical problem, which prohibits a general vaccination recommendation and even more a mandatory vaccination rprogramme, is the fact that a large part of the population is already immune to SARS-CoV-2. These many millions of people would therefore be unnecessarily exposed to an unclear vaccination risk unnecessarily. Quite apart from the time dimension, which Schrappe et al. point to: “Even if one could shoulder the Herculean task of administering 60,000 vaccine doses per working day, it would take 1000 working days (approx. 4 years) to vaccinate the population in Germany. In such a scenario many things are not even considered, e.g. the administration of the second vaccination dose, the number of side reactions (requiring treatment) or even the international competition for the vaccine” (Schrappe 3.5.2020).
At the end of April 2020, the German Association of Physicians for Individual Vaccination Decision published a position paper on vaccine development and compulsory vaccination (ÄiI 27.4.2020). In Great Britain doctors are demanding full transparency from their government regarding the benefits and risks of possible vaccines, the publication of raw data from vaccination trials, the study of natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in the population and a democratic process for the introduction of the vaccination (ANH 29.4.2020).
Politicians such as Robert Habeck or Markus Söder are calling for compulsory vaccination despite all uncertainties – in medical jargon this would be called ejaculatio praecox. Health Minister Jens Spahn has spoken out against it: “Wherever we reach our goal through willingness and good argumentation, there is no need for a duty in my view” (Handelsblatt 29.4.2020). This must be melted on the tongue after he considered compulsory measles vaccination necessary despite 97% voluntary vaccination participation. But he is planning something even more ingenious than a compulsory vaccination: an “immunity card” (see below under “On the way to a health dictatorship?”).
RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said that without a vaccine there would be no return to normality (deutschland.de 21.4.2020; Rabe 21.4.2020). The Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder has also expressed himself in this direction. Even the key issues paper on the coalition’s economic stimulus package of early June 2020 states that “the pandemic will end when a vaccine is available to the population“. It seriously damages democracy if the end of the emergency and the restriction of fundamental rights are made dependent on a vaccine.
It would seriously damage democracy and the social cohesion if the lifting of restrictions on fundamental rights were made dependent on a risky vaccine, the development and administration of which takes years.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the EU and the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation have launched an initiative to fight the coronavirus and develop a vaccine. Chancellor Merkel announced a “substantial contribution” from Germany and said that the Covid 19 pandemic was “the biggest challenge in decades” (Bundesregierung 24.4.2020) – it is remarkable how quickly global warming is being expelled on a rear place. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already left its scent mark through large donations to the WHO, the Robert Koch Institute, Charité Berlin and John Hopkins University – all names that can be heard again and again in the context of the “corona crisis” (BMGF 1.5.2020). Public, tax-funded institutions should refuse such indecent donations in order not to fuel conspiracy theories. The same applies to press organs such as SPIEGEL or ZET.
Politics and panic
Due to dramatic press reports (criticism of it e.g. with Frank 22.3.2020) many citizens were seized by panic before a possibly fatal illness for them. A desired effect, as can be seen in the strategy paper of the Ministry of the Interior on the corona crisis: “In order to achieve the desired shock effect, the concrete effects of an infestation on human society must be made clear”. (Abgeordnetenwatch 7.4.2020). German Chancellor Angela Merkel was still practicing war rhetoric on 20 April and said: “We must not allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of security for a second”. What kind of message is that? Who wants to live in such a society?
The constantly rehashed panic acts as a conduit for the politicians to excel each other in their measures. The more drastic the prescribed cure, the greater the popularity. Moderating voices are no longer heard in this upward spiral. At the beginning of April, when the number of new infections was already clearly decreasing, 56 percent of the population supported the ban on contact, 29 percent thought it was not sufficient (SPIEGEL 2.4.2020). The psychologist and philosopher Prof. Harald Walach urgently warns of the “distance to panic” (Walach 22.3.2020).
Meanwhile, the effects of the high level of panic and “social distancing” on the psyche of people are now tangible for everyone: The irritation when you accidentally get close to someone; the quarrels between former good friends; the denunciations; the aggressive mood in the social media. Psychologists note an increase in anxiety disorders, depression, distrust and aggressiveness (Sønderskov Apr 2020). The Leipzig child and youth psychologist Prof. Julian Schmitz says in an interview with ZDF: “Such a persistent contact blockage not only has economic effects, but also a negative impact on mental health. The majority will certainly come out of it healthy. But one can assume that perhaps five percent will get a mental illness in need of treatment in the course of corona – all new patients in a system that was already heavily overloaded before” (ZDF 14.4.2020). Even the Federal Ministry of the Interior itself warns in a strategy paper of the psychosocial effects of the corona virus crisis: aggressiveness and brutalization, increase in domestic violence, denunciation, post-traumatic stress disorders, rising alcohol consumption and an increase in suicides (Tagesspiegel 10.4.2020).
The question is: How do we get out of this chronic panic situation? When will people be able to meet each other again without suspecting the breath of death in each other’s breathing air?
Apart from the inconsistent approach of the various federal states, the political decisions on relaxation are hesitant, fragmented and often incomprehensible. For example, there is no rational justification for the suspension or reduction of school lessons for a large proportion of pupils for weeks or months – this has proved to be ineffective in past pandemics (SZ 22.4.2020). Ten to twenty percent of all children currently fall out of the education system and are simply not reached (NDR 19.5.2020). Children hardly play a role in the transmission (Heavey 28.5.2020). The preprint study of the group around Christian Drosten, in which this was claimed and which justified the continuation of the school closures, has since been criticised by various scientists as erroneous, and the withdrawal was demanded (Spiegelhalter 25.05.2020).
In the meantime, various medical associations are calling for schools and day-care centres to be opened up without restriction, as the social and health consequences of the closure are serious ((SPIEGEL 19.5.2020)). It is not only a violation of the human right to education, but also a bitter setback for emancipation: As a rule, it will be the mothers who will now have to stay at home and teach their children the online compulsory programme of their schools. The lockdown is made by men for men.
Children are among the main sufferers. Peter Dabrock, Chairman of the Ethics Council, describes the social isolation of children as disproportionate and a serious encroachment on the basic rights of children (br24 7.4.2020). Brain researcher Gerald Hüther warns that children’s needs are “inhibited away“, for example, from seeing their grandmother, and that in the end they no longer have any need for it (Hüther 6.6.2020). Paediatric associations generally reject compulsory masks for children (BVKJ 28.4.2020).
Kindergartens and schools must be reopened immediately without the psychologically and educationally devastating requirement to wear masks and to maintain social distance.
The President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, told the Rheinische Post on 17.4.2020 that there is no concrete scientific or medical basis for the continuation of the contact ban until 3 May: “At the current time and on the basis of the developments of the last two weeks, there is no reason why the contact ban should be extended even further to this extent” (Presseportal 17.4.2020).
It was not until April 2020 that the first representative studies were started on the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 in the total population and on the actual rate of infestation (SPIEGEL 3.4.2020, s.a. EBM-Netzwerk 20.3.2020, Scheller 24.3.2020). They will hopefully help to clarify the disease activity and allow a retrospective classification of the massive unconstitutional political and epidemic-hygienic measures. In any case, there is no mention of the 300 000 deaths that have been predicted. By no means certain is the “second wave of disease” with which the continuing emergency is justified.
On the way to a health dictatorship?
“Basic rights are called basic rights because they apply, because they also apply in catastrophic cases” (Heribert Prantl, ZDF 20.4.2020)
With German thoroughness and in a knee-jerk response, the German Infection Protection Act was tightened at the end of March 2020 – although many people were probably surprised at the restrictions that were already possible under the previous version. According to the amendment of the German Infection Protection Act, we now have a new form of state of emergency during an “epidemic situation of national importance”, which guarantees the Federal Ministry of Health numerous powers (SZ 25.3.2020). It now has the possibility to, e.g., put insufficiently tested drugs and vaccines on the market or to forcefully recruit doctors, nurses and medical students. Health authorities can collect data from travelers and order medical examinations. The law also subsequently legalized the curfews that had already been imposed (LTO 25.3.2020). The sole authorisation of the Minister of Health has the effect of excluding from political decision-making the other members of the government responsible for other fundamental rights. They are replaced by arbitrarily composed panels of experts.
The Scientific Service of the German parliament (Bundestag) considers the authorizations granted to the Federal Ministry of Health to be “considerably problematic” from a constitutional perspective (zm online 9.4.2020). For the Berlin expert on constitutional law, Prof. Clemens Arzt, parts of the law “stink to high heaven” (ZEIT 30.3.2020). The former President of the Federal Constitutional Court Hans Jürgen Papier calls the initial and contact restrictions “serious encroachments on fundamental rights”. In his view, emergency measures do not justify the “suspension of civil liberties in favor of an authoritarian and surveillance state” (Focus 30.3.2020). In a later controversial discussion in SPIEGEL, he stressed that in the crisis it was not the measures of relaxation that needed to be justified, but the maintenance of restrictions on fundamental rights (SPIEGEL 1.5.2020). Hans Michael Heinig, an expert in constitutional law from Göttingen, warns that “our community could be transformed from a democratic constitutional state into a fascist-hysterical hygienic state in the shortest possible time” (Focus 30.3.2020). A sick, divided society, in which everyone mistrusts each other, in which everyone attacks each other. Divide et impera?
Civil rights activists and data protectionists are appalled by the suspension of our basic rights (such as GFF 23.3.2020 or BFDI 24.3.2020). The lawyer Jessica Hamed lists in the Frankfurter Rundschau the numerous fundamental rights of freedom that are being violated (FR 26.3.2020). This primarily concerns the fundamental rights of personal freedom (Article 2 of the Basic Law), physical integrity (Article 2 of the Basic Law), freedom of movement (Article 11 of the Basic Law), freedom of assembly (Article 8 of the Basic Law). The secrecy of correspondence and of postal and telecommunications services is also restricted, because written communications from infected persons can be read and evaluated by authorities or medical bodies. The inviolability of the home is also restricted, because a doctor may visit and forcibly treat an infected person who is quarantine at home, and the police can storm an apartment if they suspect unauthorized visitors.
Even the right to demonstrate has been suspended in some states – the last lever that citizens still have to publicly express their opinion. Demonstrations were prohibited nationwide, even if they complied with the rules on keeping distance (taz 6.4.2020). Even the call for a demonstration could result in arrest and house searches (Focus 4.4.2020). On 16 April, a general ban on demonstrations was declared illegal by the Federal Constitutional Court (dw 16.4.2020). Some politicians and journalists give the people who are now taking to the streets and rebelling the label “vaccination opponents”, “conspiracy theorists” or “extremists” (Nachdenkseiten 20.5.2020). One wonders where are the studies that prove this. Perhaps many of these people belong to the precariousness that is currently increasing: the 4 million long-term unemployed, mini-jobbers and Hartz IV recipients, the self-employed who have to file for bankruptcy or the single parents who are left alone. People who are understandably desperate, and angry at the obscene wealth with which some think they are allowed to influence science, the media and world politics.
Agnes Imhof wrote in the Neue Züricher Zeitung about the defamation of demonstrators: “According to this logic no demonstration should take place at all, because in no demonstration in the world can you know in advance who is coming. Yes, one could even ask whether this assertion does not violate the right to demonstrate in an inadmissible way: Because who else is demonstrating when they have to fear being defamed as right-wingers just because the wrong people have joined in? What remains are the real rights… It is strange that demonstrations are not perceived as a positive signal of a functioning democracy.” (NZZ 4.6.2020)
A bad consequence of the “corona crisis” is the loss of confidence that the state and state organs have caused through prohibitions and coercive measures, which were enforced partly with absurdly high fines, partly with police violence. For many of those affected, mostly young and committed adults, this damage cannot be repaired so quickly.
There have also been attempts to call freedom of opinion and scientific freedom into question, e.g., the demand was made that it must be forbidden to publicly disseminate untrue allegations about the supply situation of the population, medical care or cause, ways of infection, diagnosis and therapy of Covid-19 disease (see, e.g., SPIEGEL Online 17.3.2020). Social networks such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter or Tiktok have decided on a joint approach to “false information”: So-called “fact-checkers” scour the platforms for unacceptable content, “trustworthy” information from public authorities is given preferential treatment (NZZ 26.3.2020). The next step could be the establishment of an Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.
German newspaper DIE ZEIT reports that Health Minister Spahn wants to pursue the idea of obliging mobile phone providers to provide data that could be used to identify “possible contact persons of sick persons” (ZEIT 30.3.2020). In an open letter, 300 scientists have distanced themselves from the idea of centralized surveillance and warn against unprecedented surveillance of society (SZ 20.4.2020). On April 26, the government gave in to the public pressure and the resistance of Google and Apple and decided on a “decentralized software architecture” of the corona app (SZ 26.4.2020).
This came as a surprise at first, but then the government came out with the draft amendment to the Infection Protection Act and the ultimate surveillance measure: an “immunity card” to be issued to those who have either been vaccinated or survived a corona infection. In the case of an “epidemic situation of national importance”, these persons can then be exempted from the restriction of basic rights (S: 21 in BGM 2. Gesetz). This would be a compulsory vaccination through the back door and a big step towards a two-class health society. According to Spahn, an “immunity card” could make things easier “in many places” (SZ 30.4.2020). Anyone who has enough imagination to imagine these “many places” will say to himself: Let’s go to the Corona Party! The change in the law should be passed in the Bundestag on 15 May. In the face of strong political opposition, Jens Spahn first asked the German Ethics Council for a statement on 4.5.2020, then put the plan “on hold for the time being” (Handelsblatt 4.5.2020).
Unfortunately, however, things are now going on and on: In another amendment to the law, the obligation to report COVID-19 by name has been extended to “suspected cases”, in which official measures can then already take effect. Furthermore, negative tests must also be reported by name – sooner or later everyone ends up in a file. According to the Data Protection Commissioner, “the envisaged regulations do not take due account of the importance of data protection as protection of the fundamental right of citizens to informational self-determination” (BFDI 30.3.2020).
What Mr. Spahn didn’t tell you: At EU level, an electronic EU immunity card is already in the pipeline, along with a comprehensive electronic vaccination information system. This will record for all citizens who has received which vaccination and when. The database can then be used to determine individual vaccination requirements at any time. This will provide the health authorities with comprehensive and reliable data on the individual vaccination status of EU citizens, which they can also link to other electronic health data (Häring 9.5.2020; EU Commission Manual: ECDC Nov 2018).
The European Academy for Freedom of Information and Data Protection urgently warns of the dangers to civil rights and data protection posed by the corona crisis (EAID 26.3.2020). The former Federal Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar said in the DIE ZEIT: “It is oppressive what is happening at the moment. We are going to get massive electronic surveillance” (ZEIT 30.3.2020).
The Health Minister’s bills – compulsory organ donation, compulsory measles vaccination, electronic health record, corona app, immunity card – allow us to see deep into the soul of an authoritarian politician who relies on paternalism and punishment rather than on the individual responsibility and self-determination of citizens. We must keep a close eye on the politicians. And we have to contradict them, also by expressing our public opinion, when they, under the influence of virus specialists who have already made completely wrong predictions several times (Focus 13.3.2020, and Déjà-vu: Drosten & Schweinegrippe 2010 SZ 17.5.2010), continue to restrict endlessly our basic rights and speak of “new normality” (FAZ 18.4.2020). We are not China. We are a living democracy, and we want to remain so in the future.
Herd protection is an apt word in this context: the suspension of fundamental rights and the paternalistic, secretive communication of the responsible politicians have reduced us to “naked physical existence” (Lepsius 6.4.2020), to beings who cannot think and act independently. As always, however, about ten percent of the herd asked themselves questions and did not say from the outset: those up there will already know what is good for us. They have not bowed to social pressure or the threat of punishment, but were and are the leaven that keeps democracy alive.
There are already creative concepts for preventive measures that respect the autonomy and dignity of people and do not smack of isolation, coercion or punishment (Schrappe 3.5.2020). Our politicians are obviously overtaxed. Politicians are obviously overloaded. Therefore, we urgently need round tables as advisory and control bodies, consisting of socially relevant and affected groups: Psychologists, educators, sociologists, general practitioners, parents’ associations, trade unionists, entrepreneurs, cultural organizations, ethicists, religious groups, etc.
In addition, we need an independent commission of inquiry to hold the government and the authorities accountable in the wake of the Corona pandemic
What to do in the meantime?
Simply do what applies to all respiratory tract infections:
- Do not go to the doctor for every cold or fever. Stay at home and call first. This will protect others from infection, no matter what virus they are infected with. In no doctor’s office are there enough rooms to isolate all those who are ill. Especially if you suspect COVID-19, do not go to a doctor’s surgery – it will be closed for at least two weeks if the virus test is positive.
- If possible, do not make visits when you have a “cold” – especially if there are old people or babies there.
- Wash your hands often with soap, especially before touching your face (eye, mouth, nose).
- Sneeze or cough into a handkerchief or in the crook of your arm if necessary. Do not shake hands.
- If you have a fever, do not use antipyretic agents – these weaken the immune system.
A few tips especially for Corona:
- If grandparents want to see their children or grandchildren, you should make it possible for them to do so. It’s their decision, and it’s understandable. How much time do they have left? Note the quote at the beginning of this article. Moreover, it is extremely unlikely that they will be infected by healthy people: The probability that a healthy person is infectious by chance is already low, and even those who are ill do not usually (85%) infect their partners, even though they live with them all the time (SZ 22.4.2020). Moreover, virus-carrying children are only slightly infectious (Focus 22.4.2020). To reduce the risk of infection to zero, you can meet your grandparents outdoors. No government, no measure must be allowed to tear families apart.
- If you have children, don’t drive them crazy with spacing rules & co. Calm them down and tell them, for example, that it is the other people who are afraid to be infected. Give your child the opportunity to play with other children whenever and wherever possible.
- Stand up for the preservation of civil rights and democracy wherever you are, in analogue or virtual reality (see Prantl 5.4.2020). Write their opinion also to your members of the state parliament and Bundestag. Participate in demonstrations for democracy and civil rights (even if there is a risk that they will be hijacked by the right or portrayed by the press as a gathering of conspiracy theorists and vaccination opponents). Every Saturday a “Freedom Assembly” takes place at Münchner Freiheit, which explicitly distances itself from right-wing ideas.
- Refuse electronic surveillance and take sides against the spreading denunciation.
- A tip to all smokers: Once again a good opportunity to quit.
- Wearing face masks in non-professional context is not helpful, maybe even counterproductive. People wearing face masks can also be irritating or threatening to children. For babies and infants masks are downright life-threatening.
- Prof. Tom Jefferson, Cochrane Collaboration: “Masks act as a symbol for society: ‘They are protected’. The scientific evidence says that maybe they are not” (Jefferson 17.4.2020).
- The physicist Prof. Dr. Christian Kähler from the Institute of Aerodynamics says that masks are useless at a distance of less than one and a half metres (but this is precisely the reason why masks are compulsory): “We cannot protect ourselves as long as there is no safe material” (SZ 8.5.2020)
- Klaus Reinhardt, President of the German Medical Association: “The effect of a general obligation to wear masks is highly questionable from a scientific point of view – and, if you ask me personally, culturally it is definitely not desirable… In sum, they may cause at least as much damage as they might be useful.” (BZ 10.5.2020)
- World Medical President Montgomery considers the obligation to wear masks to be wrong and calls masks that have not been medically tested “ridiculous” (rtl 24.4.2020).
- Peter Walger, infectiologist and intensive care physician in Bonn: “If a hiker or jogger comes towards you, it is completely unlikely that relevant amounts of virus will enter your respiratory tract or that of an opposite person over a relevant period of time. In the open air the exhaled air is immediately diluted. The danger from a passing jogger will … lie in the not measurable range” (SZ 22.4.2020).
- The brain researcher Gerald Hüther speaks in connection with the obligation to wear masks of an “instrumentalisation of fear” and of “fomenting fear in order to enforce certain measures” (Hüther 6.6.2020).
- Also biologist Clemens Arvay (Arvay 31.3.2020) is critical of mask duty.
However, the Federal Government has assured the manufacturers of masks that they will purchase 50 million masks per week (!) over a period of six months from August 2020, which is an indication of a planned continuation of the mask obligation. (BR 19.4.2020).
People wearing face masks can be irritating or threatening to children (STERN 14.3.2020). Some are also mentally disturbed when they have to wear a mask. For infants and toddlers, face masks are downright life-threatening.
In order to take action against the compulsory use of masks at schools, parents should contact the Corona hotline of the Ministry of Education and then, together with other parents, seek a discussion with the school management. In some federal states the wearing of a mask is not treated as compulsory, but as an “urgent recommendation”. Four major medical associations demand the reopening of kindergartens and schools without compulsory masks and distance rules (SPIEGEL 19.5.2020).
- The wearing of protective gloves is counterproductive (Pflegen Online 3.11.2017).
The jurist and former presiding judge at the Federal Court of Justice Thomas Fischer (Fischer 27.4.2020) wrote an article worthy of consideration on the increasing scepticism towards the pandemic policy.
A good and understandable overview from the perspective of the first “Coronoia” days is given by Prof. Dr. Harald Matthes and Dr. Friedemann Schad from the Hospital Havelhöhe in Berlin (Themen der Zeit, 13.3.2020).
If COVID-19 disease is suspected, the following hotlines are available: Munich Health Office Tel. 089/233 47 819 (8:30 – 15:00), Bavarian State Office of Health: Tel. 09131/6808-5101 or nationwide to the emergency number 116 117. The Federal Ministry of Health has also set up a citizens’ telephone: Tel. 030 346 465 100 (Monday to Thursday 8-18 o’clock and Friday 8-12 o’clock).
Translation (21.4.2020) by Stefan Kroeker and in parts by DeepL