“Deathly christmas”

The festival of love as a hotspot? – Experts warn against the "Christmas effect", The policy is based on a false sense of consideration

Many distract themselves from Corona madness with Christmas idylls. Furnishing boutiques and discounters are happy about the demand for romance, ranging from fairy lights and blankets to complete homey decorations. The apartment becomes a golden kafig.

"More death traps after the holiday"

Where many people gather, chance of transmission increases, virologists and doctors say. There will be more deaths two to three weeks after the festival, predicted Frank Ulrich Montgomery, chief executive of the World Medical Association, recently. "Christmas thus becomes a holiday with a death risk for some people." His words do not seem to fall on particularly open ears.

The functionary drastically criticizes the federal-state plans for the holidays. Most recently, the prime ministers of the German states and German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to extend and tighten the general contact restrictions. December there will be relaxations. During this period, ten people can gather in the circle of family and friends. Children up to 14 years not paid.

Also, the president of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (Divi), Prof. Uwe Janssens, has mixed feelings about the coming weeks. "With all due understanding for Christmas and family celebrations, we must unfortunately fear that as a result of the partial lifting of the restrictions around Christmas, the infection figures will rise again in January", he said.

Janssens represents more than 3.000 intensive care physicians and nurses currently toiling in German intensive care units. He does not want to scare, so clearly appeals for solidarity in a 5-minute video message. In his opinion, this includes questioning the participation in festivities.

A model calculation

A model calculation by the Julich Research Center and the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies outlines various scenarios for the holidays.

With no particularly surprising conclusion: "Possible increased contacts at Christmas and New Year’s Eve could additionally contribute to the spread of the virus as new sources." This "Christmas effect" The scientists compare this with a development that has already been observed twice this year: the increase in the number of new infections during the winter and summer vacations, mainly by travelers returning to the country.

The Christmas-related expansion of contacts through visits from family, friends and acquaintances, possibly across the country, consequently increase the risk of a geographical distribution of the infection. With unknown outcome: In any case, even regions with currently low incidence were again more exposed. In the end, a driver to a higher increase in new infections overall.

The researchers contrast their best-case scenario with a worst-case scenario. At best case the contact rate remains constant. In worst case it rises by 50 percent. For this (worst) case, scientists ame that there will be a significant – 50 percent – increase in the contact rate as a result of Christmas and New Year’s Eve visits. Then, according to their calculations, in January the number of cases passed the mark of 25.000 new infections per day rub.

"The virus rejoices and cheers"

Meanwhile, intensive care physician Uwe Janssens also takes a critical view of New Year’s Eve. Just like his physician colleague Frank Ulrich Montgomery. The latter says that a lot of alcohol is involved at the turn of the year. People will celebrate together and be in each other’s arms. "These are wonderful sources of infection. The virus rejoices and cheers", according to the chairman of the World Medical Association.

Also other doctors warn against a collapse of the clinics by risky celebrations, this stunde straight at New Year’s Eve to fear. Children and young people under the age of 14 are not included in the current limit on contacts, as already mentioned. This means that on Christmas and New Year’s Eve more than ten people can celebrate together. And of course this will be the case. And the kids – hardly discussed by politicians – are also carriers of the infection.

One searches in vain for a logic. The number "10" (in which the kids are suppressed) is pure political symbolism. With 20 or 30 restaurant or cafe visitors at a distance, the risk of infection would probably be lower than with 10 to 15 people under the Christmas tree, where, moreover, there is certainly no Knecht Ruprecht to monitor the actual numbers of party guests.

So close your eyes and get into the festive hustle and bustle? It looks more like a wrongly understood "Feast of love" 2020 from. The new infections fluctuate just around the 20.000 a day and are already going over the top. With a well-intentioned, but in essence wrong consideration of the policy on Christmas and New Year, there could be a new negative record.

Reflecting on gluhwein stands and an open question

Chancellor Angela Merkel is striving for a new consensus on additional measures in the pandemic before Christmas, according to the latest reports. With the current regulations, she is quoted as saying, the country will come "not through the winter", it will "too much talked about mulled wine stands and too little about nurses and caregivers".

Christmas itself, however, remains the exception. According to a report from the German Chancellor’s Office, the Picture-newspaper at the same time that plans are being made to reduce "from the 27. December" to tighten considerably. How much thought has been put into it??

Markus Soder has meanwhile pulled the emergency brake for Bavaria: From Wednesday, a ten-point plan with a hard lockdown and exit restrictions applies throughout the Free State. The new regulations are to be introduced from 9. December to 5. January 2021, New Year’s Eve included. He also does not want to touch the German Christmas; from January 23. until 26. December there are holiday relaxations.

Is Christmas bliss worth the risk? Every unpleasant death was allowed to be one too many.

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