Berlin Karl Lauterbach was in the right place at the right time when the chancellor made him his health minister a little over a year ago. Lauterbach made a name for himself with gloomy warnings right at the beginning of the corona pandemic.
He was often right about that. He wanted to end the pandemic, he said about his new job at the time, and everyone could measure him by that.
Measured against this, Lauterbach’s tenure is a success. He’s almost there: the seven-day incidence has been falling for weeks. The curve that the Republic was still looking at a few months ago is no longer a curve, but a straight line. There is nothing to see here, please turn to more important things to write about.
“The situation for the virus is precarious,” said the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten. Mind you: It is not really dangerous for the health system or the population right now, but for the virus itself.
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But Lauterbach does not give the impression that he sees himself at the finish line. He remains true to himself, warns of new waves and dangerous mutants. On the night of Monday he shared a study on the future of the pandemic on the short message service Twitter. One scenario is an omicron dead end, “that would be good,” he writes. But a “variant mix” or a “Delta further development” are also possible.
He plays with fears. The tenor: Don’t be too happy, the winter wave is still coming – and possibly with a worse variant.
It’s true, the incidences can rise again and the number of employees can increase again, which can also pose a problem for the critical infrastructure and especially for clinics that also have to deal with a flu epidemic.
The pandemic is actually not over yet. But the constant alarm is annoying, it’s expensive – the recently extended citizen tests, for example, cost more than a billion euros in times when the money is needed elsewhere – and it no longer finds a majority in the population. She has long since gotten used to the virus and has learned to live with it.
This was recently shown by a remarkable survey by the DAK health insurance company. Accordingly, the number of people who fear illness has more than halved to 18 percent this year.
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Nevertheless, 80 percent still want to stick to corona measures. So people are reasonable enough not to let themselves be driven crazy and still stick to what the state asks of them. You don’t need a permanent alarm for this.
If Lauterbach thinks it’s necessary, he’s way off the mark. He doesn’t have to constantly confront the populace with the worst to rally them behind his course.
Lauterbach does not live up to his role as minister
Lauterbach no longer has any scruples about going public with completely exaggerated scenarios that sound scientific at first glance, but then turn out to be completely wrong. At the end of September he warned of an incidence of 1000 in the current wave, now it is almost 180.
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Sure, one can be wrong, but those in office should be very, very careful with such numbers, especially when the citizens already have to worry about so many other things such as their electricity bills, increased prices or their workplace.
Every worry less is a blessing these days. Lauterbach hasn’t internalized that yet. With every alarm message, he shows how alienated he is from the population on the subject of Corona.
He’s still in the panic mode that the chancellor made him a minister for. He has to prove that he can do things differently. Because it jeopardizes the public’s trust in politics.
More: You can read all developments regarding the corona pandemic in our live blog