01.07.2022, Berlin: Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Bundesminister für Gesundheit, spricht auf einer Pressekonferenz zum Evaluationsbericht des IfSG. Der IfSG präsentiert heute die Ergebnisse des Evaluationsbericht der bisherigen Corona-Schutzmaßnahmen. Foto: Fabian Sommer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

from the dream. That the pandemic would be defeated and turn into a normal flu. From a medical point of view, you could get exactly this impression – with all the imponderables that go along with it in terms of Long Covid – because apart from the more severe courses you are laid flat with flu symptoms for a few days and then wait until the result of the tests is finally negative again . But from an economic point of view, the summer wave is a huge problem.

Workers are absent everywhere: in local and long-distance transport, in companies, in gastronomy. The Federation of German Industries expects that around 20 percent of working hours could be lost due to illness from autumn. And that in a situation where thousands of positions are vacant anyway – and probably for the long term. In addition to inflation, the restricted supply chains and the still existing effects of the pandemic on the labor market, the corona situation is thus becoming a new stress test.

For politicians – or rather for the FDP – this means: If health issues hardly play a role in corona policy, then at least the economic ones should. Because the longer politicians wait with a legally sound, effective and pragmatic plan to fight the pandemic, the more difficult the situation becomes. The fact that the masks were rigorously dropped everywhere except for the bus and train was ultimately a big mistake, also economically.

The implicit promise that everything was more or less over was wrong. One certainly cannot blame the FDP alone, even if it was the engine of the misunderstood freedom movement. The Greens and SPD did not oppose it decisively enough. Either because they were secretly happy that the FDP had advanced, or because they lacked the political assertiveness. But looking back doesn’t help much in the current situation.

Instead, there should now be clarity quickly. This includes a clear statement on the fourth vaccination. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach must follow the talk show announcement with action. Because so far the citizens have had to decide for themselves between EU announcements, Lauterbach proposals and rejection by the Standing Vaccination Commission. In addition, there should be a rapid return of masks to essential parts of public life. Supermarkets are to be mentioned, but also cultural events.

It’s not about a black and white view, not about everything tight or everything open, but about simple protective measures that we now know are effective and at least prevent a serious deterioration of the situation. And maybe the corona policy should not just be the private duel between Health Minister Lauterbach and Justice Minister Buschmann. The Ministry of Economics in particular could exert influence, precisely because the economy and thus all citizens are affected by the corona policy.

A clear announcement from the federal government is also important for the federal states, because one thing should not come out again: a patchwork of measures. The virus spreads no differently in Hesse than in Berlin.

Many of the current crises are not easy to get a grip on politically. The Russian war in Ukraine does not depend on German policy. Although the dependency on Russian gas is the result of political mistakes made here, it cannot be corrected quickly and easily at the moment. This is different with Corona. Here politicians can influence the situation with simple and clear measures and get it under control. What’s more, politicians must play a more active role here again – and they shouldn’t proceed at a summer’s snail’s pace.