When Jens Spahn was still a popular Federal Minister of Health, he formulated the forward-looking sentence in spring 2020 with a view to the first wave of the corona pandemic, which “we will probably have to forgive each other a lot in a few months”. More than a few months have now passed, the fourth wave has Germany firmly under control, and there really is a lot to be forgiven. The virologists warned of the current situation in the summer. The only problem is that there is nobody far and wide who would admit mistakes.
On Sunday evening, Anne Will asked each of the politicians present, the Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU), Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) and the FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, whether he or she was blaming himself. Nobody takes the opportunity to allow a little humility and ask for forgiveness. At least Hans admits that a few weeks ago he thought that one would “get through”. Well, you couldn’t get through. The vaccination rate is too low, the incidence is too high, and the occupancy of intensive care beds in hospitals has reached critical levels. Germany has become an international negative example in the fight against the corona pandemic.
“How frustrated are you,” Will asks the virologist Melanie Brinkmann, who accuses politicians of being far too passive. “You saw the numbers rise in the summer,” says Brinkmann and complains that people in the country are still not being “proactively” approached when it comes to vaccination. This is where the main problem lies: in the high rate of non-vaccinated people, which in Germany is still around 30 percent.
The psychologist Cornelia Betsch explains clearly where the passive attitude of those responsible leads in such a situation. One can observe that people behave more responsibly when the numbers rise. But if politicians do not take countermeasures, then the population’s awareness of the problem will decrease again. “There is the RKI that warns, but ultimately you wait for the (political, note d. Red.) Regulation. And if that doesn’t come, then you behave more carelessly again. “At this point, one could speak of a political failure of national significance.
But because the situation is as it is and the mistakes of the past can no longer be made good, a general vaccination requirement is now being discussed. Everyone at “Anne Will” agrees that the debate is good in and of itself. Nobody wants to demand vaccination, at least none of the politicians. The scientists in the group are less averse, even with a view to the coming spring. It is not unlikely that the fourth wave will break at some point. “But even then we need a lot of people who have been vaccinated,” says the psychologist Betsch. In their warning, the thought of a fifth wave already resonates, of an endless loop of this frustrating, stressful emergency. You don’t want to think so far ahead. If it wasn’t so crucial.