The words of Professor Dr.
Klaus Stöhr are heard around the world when it comes to Corona - but less so in their own country.
Here he analyzes the strategy of the federal government.
The federal government and states are implementing a strict
, which young people in particular suffer from.
warns that the
lockdown measures should be
talks about the problems of the current strategy.
Munich / Berlin -
Klaus Stöhr *
is one of the most experienced disease fighters in the world, headed the WHO's influenza program and coordinated its research on
His words are heard by governments around the world, but not in their own country.
Chancellor Angela Merkel * did not invite the 61-year-old virologist and epidemiologist to the latest crisis summit with the Prime Minister - although the SPD-led countries had urged it.
In an interview with our newspaper, Stöhr analyzes the
of Merkel, Söder & Co.
Corona in Germany: Critical treatment of children - "Simply not differentiated enough"
How do you rate the new lockdown resolutions?
Professor Dr. Klaus Stöhr
: In winter, pandemics naturally reach their peak.
It is therefore fundamentally correct that we must now proceed with adapted protective measures.
However, with the current “before lockdown is after lockdown” strategy, it will be difficult to get through this critical time without losing people's support.
Against this background, the closure of kindergartens and primary schools is to be assessed even more critically than curfews.
They would be the last resort in an absolute crisis - and I don't see this crisis situation at the moment.
What are the weak points of the lockdown strategy?
: The approach of the current strategy is to aim for an incidence * of 50 so that the health authorities can follow up the contacts again as far as possible.
In winter this target value is illusory, pure wishful thinking.
Why should this goal, declared by the Chancellor like a prayer wheel, not be achieved?
: The virus is widespread, we have three to five times the number of unreported cases of infection.
It will be cold for a few more weeks, which will make it easier for the virus to spread than in summer.
The measures will have an effect, but the incidence can never be kept below 50 in the long term.
The experiences in our neighboring countries are clearer.
Here the incidences are well over 100 after several lockdowns. The experience from Ireland was tragic: after a national effort, the 50 mark was reached in December.
After loosening it, it jumped to a record over 900.
Corona course from Angela Merkel and Co .: "Treating everyone equally will not work"
Which limit value do you think makes sense?
: In the last few weeks we have seen that we in Germany can handle an incidence of 130, 160, maybe 180 well.
The hospitals are burdened but not overloaded.
We are even seeing a decrease in the incidence.
At the same time, there are still many deaths, especially in old people's homes.
The correct conclusion from this is: Treating the entire population equally with a watering can principle will not work.
To set the same incidence limit for children and residents of old people's homes is simply not differentiated enough in my opinion.
Such an epidemic affects risk groups, in the case of Covid-19 mainly old people.
I don't understand at all how one can curb the incidence of infections in nursing homes by closing kindergarten and school closings.
In Merkel's advisory team, for example, your colleague Melanie Brinkmann even calls for a zero-covid strategy - i.e. zero incidence.
: Zero Covid is zero realistic.
Achieving this goal and then keeping it in the middle of Europe in winter for the long term is so far from reality.
I am amazed that this is seriously considered.
Because it's a purely mathematical approach to tackling the pandemic.
With such a natural event, however, you have to see the reality: We have learned from experience with other contagious respiratory diseases that the incidence in winter is ten to 15 times higher than in summer.
We can also see from the bad experiences in our neighboring countries that a hard lockdown cannot keep the incidence below 100 in the long term.
Virologist Klaus Stöhr was a guest on Markus Lanz's ZDF talk show in October 2020.
He criticizes the current line of the federal government.
© imago images / teutopress
Germany and the fight against corona: why is the federal government ignoring virologist Stöhr?
What has to be done so that we can get a better grip on Corona?
It would make sense if there were broader interdisciplinary advice.
In addition to virologists and epidemiologists, such bodies also include social scientists, health economists and marketing and communication experts.
We want to achieve a change in attitudes among the population - and pressure alone will not succeed.
People expect a positive agenda, a goal we can work towards together.
Then they will also show understanding if the measures should be tightened again.
Angela Merkel apparently does not want to hear this criticism.
Why are you not represented in Germany's most important crisis team?
: You have to ask others.
I have advised many governments.
Most of them tried to invite a representative group of experts from different disciplines.
You have developed various approaches to combating the pandemic, all of the advantages and disadvantages shown.
This was then discussed openly.
The best possible compromise can then be found from the sum of the alternatives.
At least that's how I've experienced crisis management during outbreaks.
What exactly do the Chancellor and Prime Minister have to do differently?
: In addition to the prescribed measures, we need people who can reach people's heads.
If you don't think through the optimal communication strategy right from the start, you will lose people on the long way through a pandemic.
Isn't that the job of politicians?
But without a long-term, achievable goal, a positive agenda and the vague hope that everything will be different after the lockdown, their daily arguments unfortunately do not work in many cases.
Do you have a specific example ready?
In November it was said: “We will now lockdown until Christmas - and everything will be fine after that.” It was already clear then that the virus and winter would still be there four weeks later and that more than 90 percent of the population would be susceptible.
To argue like this is simply not enough.
A pandemic is a long-term event.
Corona mutations a serious danger?
Virologist describes the background of the infections
The latest reasons for lockdown are provided by new virus variants, especially from England.
Is the fear of B117 and other mutations justified?
A pandemic cannot be imagined without a surprise.
There are already many thousands of such variants.
You have to watch them all carefully, of course, and the English variant B117 appears to be more infectious than the original Sars-CoV2 virus.
From the perspective of an epidemic fighter, however, I do believe that we can deal with such variants.
But Merkel warns that variants like B117 could multiply the number of infections in a short time.
Don't you see this danger?
For example, if you analyze the number of infections in Ireland more closely, the variant loses its horror.
There was a steep increase in the number of infections there, but according to Irish health authorities it was not related to B117.
In Ireland, the percentage of the variant in infections is currently increasing.
But the bottom line is that new infections have halved in the past ten days.
That rather suggests that this variant can also be controlled.
Interview: Andreas Beez
Interview: Andreas Beez