It is a straightening of the front in the fight between the Carefree team and the Caution team: free corona citizen tests will no longer be available for the vast majority of people from Friday. This fits in with the overall political strategy of no longer pursuing serious protection against infection. Civil liberties are only restored when the last feverishly coughing person in the supermarket is allowed to tear off their mask: This is how the mixed situation can – unfortunately – be summarized.
These signals from politics are of course received by the people. Restaurant inside or beer garden outside? For many, this is no longer a question of the risk of infection, but of the weather. Everyone who cannot or does not want to be so carefree withdraws from public space. The pandemic deaths are – well – dead, those seriously ill with Long Covid are also not indulging in idleness in the beer garden. This makes it all the easier for the others to give themselves the impression that their old life is back.
But that is not yet social peace, not a reconciliation after the toughest arguments, which is talked about so much. It would take more for that.
First and foremost, the Carefree team would have to resolve the bite that has now set in on the Caution team. For example, regular testing has been discontinued in Berlin schools – another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of supposed normality. When clearing the protective measures, there is hardly any stopping. This makes communication difficult, especially from the point of view of those who have previously been ill, whose circle of life is getting narrower and narrower and who are being forced further and further into isolation.
Secondly, there needs to be solidarity from the reasonable. Anyone who feels safe enough even without a mask in the supermarket, because of the vaccination or because they have just had an infection, should still put on a mask voluntarily and thus contribute to a culture of mutual consideration.
Third, everything must be done to depoliticize the conflicts where possible. Air filter devices, for example, bring great benefits and have no significant disadvantages. Politicians should act accordingly and try to remove such matters from the heated debates, in which each side actually has serious arguments to produce – for example when it comes to whether children sit in school with or without masks.
Fourth, civil society and politics must show backbone and at least enforce the protection rules that still exist. There can be no question of this, for example, in local public transport in Berlin, where masks are still compulsory. This appeal is only a rearguard action in the face of what would actually be needed to curb the transmission of the virus. And of course even this will go unheard in the pandemic-weary society.
The question remains how long this can go well. The answer will always depend on the race between virus mutations and vaccine development. “Now it’s good with Corona”: If the worst happened, it would be difficult to get this genie back in the bottle. Society is currently making a risky bet – with the number of cases increasing significantly.