The German Government and Corona

By Steven

The CDU and SPD in Berlin, Germany’s current two reigning parties have handled the Corona Crisis both well and badly thus far. They handled the crisis well in that they shut meeting places, such as playgrounds, restaurants, schools and many other places for four weeks. The probability of infecting other people was low because Germany’s citizens were only allowed to interact in restricted places. Neither were they allowed to meet with more than one person in public. The German government limited interactions to no more than one other person in public. This ban, including the restriction to enter certain places has been beneficial because the rate of infection has decreased in Germany since March. When the virus was detected in Heinzberg, the German government reacted fast. That prevented the high infection rates seen in Italy, Spain or the USA. In this regard, the German state has done a good job and payed attention to the safety and health of Germany’s citizens.

Unfortunately, some people in Germany died of Covid-19, like in other countries in the world. 1/3 of the dead people in general were in homes for the elderly. Nearly all of the other 2/3 had had an illness before they were infected or were older than 60 years old. This shows that these patients-at-risks can easily die of the virus. Only have a few people who were not risk patients died of Corona. We only know this fact since the government in Berlin has collaborated well with virologists.

The small number of dead people who were not at-risk is due to the fact that the CDU and SPD have always paid attention to the doctor’s suggestions, like a safety distance of 1.5 meters. Therefore, not as many people have died so far as in Italy or Spain. If Merkel and her cabinet had not listened to the doctors and reacted fast, the rate of infected people would probably be higher. In comparison to the USA, Germany has done a decent job. There are more than 350,000 infected people in New York State alone. These are approximately 150,000 people more in one state than in total in Germany. Since Trump does not pay attention to doctors and believes that someone can probably cure the virus by injecting disinfectants, the rate of infections is as high as it is now in the USA.

However, the CDU and SPD in Berlin have not dealt with the pandemic well in every regard. They neglected some of the destitute. They neglected, the homeless, those who rely on “Die Tafel” for meals and have little access to medical care. Because of COVID-19, the organization shut many of their halls, so those people had to buy food from grocery stores. In this case, the state should have intervened and allowed “Die Tafel” to leave all their halls open. Since some of the people who depend on “Die Tafel” had to spend money in grocery stores, they struggled with paying their rent for their apartment. If the lockdown had gone longer, i.e. leaving “Die Tafel’s” halls and public places shut, a property owner could have thrown some of these destitute out of their apartment. Then, they would have been in a worse situation than they were during the lockdown. As far as I know, this has not happened so far, and “Die Tafel” has re-opened many of their halls because the number of infected people has decreased.

A further reason why the German government has not always reacted well is that the government reopened too many public spaces at the same time. This increases the risk of infections. Within two weeks, barbershops, playgrounds, schools and gyms opened with restrictions, but they opened again. Children can go to a playground, and five people from two different families can meet in public. As all these places are open again, there are many people on the street again, and this within a short period. This fast development cannot be controlled everywhere at the same time. Police and safety guards cannot check everywhere at the same time if people stick to the 1.5 meters safety distance. Despite the fact that Christian Drosten emphasized the importance of this distance several times, there are some people in my hometown who ignore this distance. Hence, the risk of infections has increased within a short period. This is why the German state should not have reopened as many places as it did. It would have been better if the German state had reopened less places at once and if the state had watched if the rate of infections will de- or increase.

In the end, it is difficult to say whether the German government has handled the Covid-19 pandemic well or not thus far. I think that Germany has done quite well so far because there are fewer rates of infections than in other countries. We will see within the next few months, how the current rates of infections will develop, and what further decisions CDU and SPD will make.

Pandemic Journal: Essen, July 2020

By Melissa Knox-Raab

Knox-Raab in corona fashion – perfume by isopropyl alcohol

1. Five minutes of CNN Covid coverage makes me feel like running into the bathroom and following Sanjay Gupta’s method: scrubbing the backs of my hands, between fingers, grabbing and twisting soapsuddy thumbs, and pushing the tap off with my elbow. I know I’m here, where the curve’s flat as a pancake, but American statistics make me feel like the virus can vault through the TV screen and get me.

2. Right now, I’m thinking of a John Donne poem:

When my grave is broke ope again
Some second guest to entertain . . .

New York used refrigerated trucks. In Donne’s day, they just dug up a grave and dumped in another customer.

3. When Miranda Bailey, chief of surgery at Gray-Sloan Memorial Hospital on Grey’s Anatomy gives a patient a dangerous bug, the fault lies in the cheaper brand of latex gloves the hospital had ordered in a misguided effort to save money.

4. The governor of Florida now claims there’ s plenty of PPE around. Meanwhile, medical professionals end up, at best, like Miranda Bailey: with a shrink who prescribes anti-anxiety pills.

5. In a stuffy office today–windows were closed–I asked the lawyers to wear masks. I was wearing a mask. One of them pulled her mask off her chin and covered up, all the while complaining, “it’s really hard to understand you when you’re wearing a mask.” The other– hawk-nosed, shock of white hair flopping intentionally–stared right through me. Maskless, he held forth like a winner at Toastmaster’s International throwing in a few words about the new alliance with the Rotary Club. He spoke for forty-five minutes.

6. Richard Quest, his signature rasp still intact, described the symptoms he keeps asking his doctors about. The breathlessness. The weakness. The pain. Now that he’s been cured for weeks, when will these symptoms stop coming and going? “We don’t know, Richard,” say his doctors.

7. When I went to the gym yesterday, the nice bearded trainer, the one who doesn’t follow the rules, let me in a whole twelve minutes early. There were only three people in the gym, whose capacity, when we all stick to designated areas on the floor marked with yellow tape, is seven. When the two people who enforce the rules are around—“No, you can’t go in for another four and a half minutes!”—everyone’s stuck breathing on each other in a grubby foyer right in front of the (spacious, windows-wide-open) gym.

8. The form I was trying to get the lawyers to help with is, according to them, “really complicated.” This is Germany.

9. The nice lady behind me in the Edeka line inquired where I’d gotten my plastic face shield. Turning to answer, I forgot about social distancing. Good thing that thin, impregnable plastic stood between me and a friendly conversation.