Unusual times must be critically reflected by the citizens in a democracy. It goes without saying that the measures taken to combat the Corona pandemic are justified. But they are only temporary, because everything has to be proportionate. The freedoms and fundamental rights guaranteed by the Basic Law are a highly valuable asset in our constitutional state!
That is why it is astonishing how emotions take precedence over facts. Every day, approx. 2,500 people die in Germany. Due to accidents, old age, illnesses, about 70 from hospital germs and several hundred a day in flu seasons alone. Currently, we have a total of almost 1,500 corona deaths in Germany, lately summing up to between 80 and 200 new deaths per day. Regionally very different and most often in Bavaria, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden- Württemberg. In North Rhine-Westphalia, 35 percent of the people who died were residents of old people’s homes. Why haven’t we protected them better? What is being done for the residents, but also for the staff, to change this intolerable situation?
Considering medical, ethical, social and economic issues
We need an interdisciplinary council that takes medical, ethical, social and economic considerations into account and rates them. From this assessment, scenarios and measures for action must be developed very quickly. Otherwise, also we as Europeans run the risk that the negative social and economic consequences of the measures taken against Corona will no longer be manageable. Millions of people are more afraid of the future every day. It is true that in times of a pandemic, we must protect people from infection. It is also true, however, that people will continue to die from the Corona virus. And we must consider other negative consequences as well when deciding on measures to combat the spread of the disease.
Encouraging research for interim solutions
Initiatives by researchers now looking for intermediate solutions until an effective vaccine against Sars-CoV-2 is found are very encouraging. These include attempts by the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology and other research institutions to genetically restructure the only effective vaccine against tuberculosis to date. Even though it does not prevent the Covid-19 infection, it is still supposed to lessens its effects. Additionally, a transnational project is investigating whether passive immunisation by blood plasma is possible. Convalescents have antibodies against the corona virus in their blood plasma. If they donate plasma, it may help a seriously ill recipient of the same blood group to increase their number of antibodies against the virus. It is precisely this imaginative, pragmatic scientific research that we need now.
Germany can only endure a short-term shutdown
Economically, Germany can survive a three-month shutdown. However, this also means that the capacity of the important industry sectors must increase again to more than 50 percent during the 2nd or 3rd week of May. Subsequently, retailers, restaurants and service providers must be able to work again. In order to achieve this, four framework conditions must be met:
Protective measures (masks, distancing) wherever people work together
Massive testing capacities for the virus and consistently pursued isolation of all people tested positive as well as their contacts
For many more months to go, protection of the most vulnerable people A ban on crowds and mass events over a long period of time These measures provide for more time until a vaccine is found. That is the most important objective. In addition, it is of great significance to find a reliable test for antibodies.