Friday, January 1st, 2021
“Insane high numbers of infections”
Medical officer calls for months of lockdown
Politicians are still discussing whether the current corona restrictions will be extended by a few weeks after January 10th. A Berlin medical officer speaks plain language: In view of the out-of-control pandemic, a lockdown until the end of March or April is inevitable.
The Berlin medical officer Patrick Larscheid considers an extension of the current lockdown to be inevitable – for far more than a few weeks and not only in the capital. “We still have insanely high numbers of infections,” he said. “After the New Year’s Eve weekend we will see the effect of the Christmas days.” It can be assumed that mobility did not decrease as much in the second lockdown as in the first in spring.
Larscheid is a medical officer in the Reinickendorf district of Berlin and feels the consequences of the pandemic every day. The possibility of vaccination is a great thing, he said. But so far it is unclear whether the vaccinated could still pass the virus on. “We have to hold out for a few more months,” said Larscheid. “One should now appeal to the population that we have to accept all of this.” He doesn’t see this guts enough at the moment. “But we have the ethical consensus that we want to weight medical necessities more than economic ones,” he emphasized.
The prime ministers of the federal states want to discuss with Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 5 how things will continue after the nationwide lockdown, which is initially limited to January 10. The declared goal is to reduce the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants to below 50 within seven days – a goal that, given the current figures, is still a long way off.
“We now simply have to reduce the numbers sustainably. Therefore, I am very skeptical about opening the prospect of openings from January 10th,” said Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder a few days before the renewed federal-state consultations. Söder demanded that the federal and state governments continue to fight the virus. “The point now is not to find the most convenient solution, but the most effective one.” Other country leaders had also emphasized in the past few days that they firmly expect the lockdown to be extended.
“Push this crap disease away”
In Berlin, the pandemic was not effectively controlled with the current methods, Larscheid judged. An effect is practically invisible because the behavior does not change. “I don’t know how to make this clear to people either. Because I can understand anyone who says: I’m so tired of all this,” said the medical officer. “But then we have to see what we may not do right together. And what do we have to do so that we can all get out of this mess faster?” That is also good for the cohesion in the new year. “For me that is the only meaningful resolution: that we should now work together really hard to push this crap disease away,” he added.
At the moment, for example, there is such a high level of infection in Berlin that it is realistically difficult to control. “Of course there will be a lockdown after January 10th,” he said. “Reasonably, politicians should already say: Nothing can change by the end of March or the end of April.” Or: “Come on everybody from the trip that we can pick up the whole thing every week. A roll backwards is not possible.” In Berlin, only two thirds of the intensive care beds are free for normal events. “That doesn’t work in the long run.”