Joggers and walkers on the Alster in Hamburg: mask requirement rather "counterproductive"
Photo: Chris Emil Janssen / imago images
Leading aerosol researchers from Germany are calling on politicians to change course in the measures to contain the corona epidemic.
"If we want to get the pandemic under control, we have to make people aware that the danger is lurking INSIDE," says a letter to the federal government and the state governments, which is available to the dpa news agency.
It is considered certain that the coronavirus spreads mainly through the air.
"Unfortunately, to this day, the essential findings of our research work have not been translated into practical action," the authors criticize.
Measures would need to be taken in homes, offices, classrooms, residential complexes and care facilities.
They warn that infection occurs indoors even if you do not meet someone directly, but an infectious person has been in a poorly ventilated room beforehand.
Debates about strolling on river promenades, staying in beer gardens, jogging or cycling, however, are counterproductive.
Sars-CoV-2 pathogens are almost invariably transmitted indoors
Measures such as compulsory masks when jogging along the Alster and Elbe in Hamburg are more of a symbolic nature and "do not have any significant impact on the infection rate," the experts write.
Sars-CoV-2 pathogens would almost always be transmitted indoors.
This is extremely rare in the open air, in the alcohol range.
The letter says that the limited resources should not be wasted on this.
Also, large groups - so-called clusters - are never infected outdoors, as can be observed indoors, for example in homes, schools, events, choir rehearsals or bus trips.
From the point of view of the scientists, the curfews also promise more than they can deliver.
"This does not prevent secret meetings indoors, but merely increases the motivation to evade government orders even more," they write.
"Wearing a mask in the pedestrian zone and then having a coffee table without a mask in your own living room is not what we, as experts, understand by infection prevention." With exit restrictions, politicians want to prevent people from meeting at all at times.
Wear effective masks indoors
Instead, the authors recommend several measures such as keeping meetings indoors as short as possible, creating conditions such as outdoors with frequent intermittent or cross ventilation, wearing effective masks indoors, and installing room air purifiers and filters wherever people spend longer periods of time have to stay in closed rooms - for example in nursing homes, offices and schools.
"The combination of these measures leads to success," it continues.
"If this is communicated appropriately, people will regain some of their freedom of movement in this difficult time." The signatories include the President of the Society for Aerosol Research, Christof Asbach, General Secretary Birgit Wehner and the former President of the International Society for Aerosols in the Medicine, Gerhard Scheuch.
oka / dpa