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The scientists at the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina are concerned about the development of the corona pandemic.
They warn of a "difficult to control development" in autumn and winter.
In a further statement that is available to SPIEGEL, they urge politicians to agree "on nationwide binding, effective and uniform rules for the entry into force of precautionary measures" and to implement and enforce these "more consistently than before".
The Leopoldina scholars are not campaigning for new rules, but rather for the so-called AHA rules (keep your distance, keep hygiene rules and wear everyday masks) more consistent than before.
The federal states should commit to a common approach.
It is true that people should continue to appeal to their sense of responsibility and that this should be supported by good communication.
However, the Leopoldina also advocates penalties: "Disregarding binding orders to wear mouth and nose protection must be fined everywhere in order to ensure that such orders are given the necessary emphasis," the researchers write.
You cite a study according to which if you voluntarily recommend around 77 percent of people to wear a mask, if sanctions threaten, the rate rises to 97 percent.
The top researchers do not see any room for further relief at the moment, such as those in Saxony-Anhalt, where discos are allowed to reopen.
"In particular, group activities in closed rooms that lead to increased transmission through droplets and aerosols, such as sports, singing or loud speaking, should not take place or only with special protective measures," is her recommendation.
The academy from Halle justifies its new warning with the fact that more and more activities are being relocated indoors due to the bad weather and temperatures.
To this end, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz has presented a study with which the scientists demonstrate the dangerous connection between the viruses spread in aerosols and enclosed spaces.
"Aerosols from highly infectious people can spread Covid-19 viruses in indoor areas very effectively," they write in the study that has been submitted for publication in a specialist journal.
These highly infectious people are responsible for five percent of all Covid-positive people.
You could infect more than ten people.
With good ventilation, for example through suitable air conditioning systems and filters, but also masks, the risk of infection can be reduced by a factor of ten.
The Leopoldina researchers therefore advocate that masks must be worn constantly indoors where the minimum distance cannot be maintained.
This also applies to schools, says Leopoldina President Gerald Haug to SPIEGEL.
In the professional community, there is great fear that with the onset of rain in the coming days, the number of infections will rise exponentially again, as in other European countries - at least if people behaved carelessly.
"We just have to keep going through the pandemic in a disciplined manner in the coming months," says Haug.
The Leopoldina focuses primarily on young people who have a greater urge to meet and, in the process, exhaust or exceed the rules.
Therefore, "target-group-specific information in the media used by these groups is necessary, if possible with the participation of influential role models and 'influencers'", says the statement.
The National Academy, on the other hand, sees room for relief in the quarantine rules.
It takes an average of two days from infection with the virus until this can be detected and five days until the first symptoms appear, the researchers write.
The infectious phase usually begins two to three days before the onset of symptoms and ends about seven days afterwards.
"With a confirmed finding, the prescribed isolation time could be shortened to around a week," the scientists write in their statement.
For people who have had contact with such a person, the quarantine period could be shortened accordingly, from 14 to ten days, according to the researchers, who include Heyo Kroemer, CEO of the Charité, the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten and Barbara Wollenberg, among others. Director at the Klinikum rechts der Isar in Munich.
The researchers point out the social and psychological consequences of the restrictions they are demanding and demand that they be examined more closely than before.
"In order to maintain mental and physical well-being in the coming winter months, support structures are more necessary than ever, as well as a significantly larger range of psychotherapeutic and psychiatric and advisory services with regard to prevention and therapy," they write.
But this also includes something as simple as "sporty exercise".
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