In an op-ed quoting a handful of medical experts and top thinkers, Germany’s Das Bild newspaper has soundly denounced coronavirus lockdown measures in the nation as “a huge mistake.”
The top-selling European paper heavily emphasized “warning, doubting, and arguing” any public crisis that, as has been seen across the globe with the coronavirus pandemic, comes with draconian measures that suppress citizens’ most basic rights.
Bild notes that Germany’s political leaders “pushed the recommendations of other luminaries to justify the lockdown of the economy and public life, as well as the severe interference with everyone’s freedoms,” all while ignoring respected voices that went against the status quo.
One such voice is that of Professor Klaus Püschel, an esteemed pathologist and head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Hamburg University Hospital. In the editorial, Püschel argues that “in the end, COVID-19 is a viral disease like the flu, which in most cases is harmless and is only fatal in exceptional cases.”
“It is important to look at the aftermath of the epidemic to see if COVID-19 really was the cause of death,” Püschel notes. “Of the approximately 180 deceased with coronavirus that we have now examined, all suffered from severe pre-existing conditions and were not children or adolescents. The COVID-19 infection was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
University of Hanover Professor Stefan Homburg, a former federal government adviser agreed that official figures in Germany didn’t come close to justifying the lockdown.
“In Italy, the coronavirus epidemic was worse than a flu epidemic, in Germany it was less severe,” Homburg said. “With the lockdown, the federal and state governments have made a huge mistake.”
“The damage is increasing every day, all bans must be lifted immediately,” he continued, pointing out that “empty soccer stadiums and half-empty restaurants are of no use to anyone.”
Professor Hans-Jürgen Papier, former president of the Federal Constitutional Court, said that not enough deliberation was given to whether or not—and how much—state intervention was actually necessary.
“The balance was between the protection of life and health on the one hand and the protection of constitutional goods on the other,” Papier argued. “There should have been a broader and more detailed parliamentary and public debate. To this end, the legal goods to be weighed up were too important and the consequences and interventions too great.”
The utter lack of debate, said former Minister of Culture Julian Nida-Rümelin, was the promotion of statistics without context, leading to inevitable panic.
“With COVID-19, new, huge numbers appear every day, which make us frightened and perplexed,” Nida-Rümelin said. “These figures must be understood by asking: how many people die every day in Germany in total? How many have heart attacks? How many from cancer? How many from COVID-19? Little is being done to this effect.”
Lastly, Bild cites “legendary” journalist Patricia Riekel, who declared that warnings and calls for personal responsibility would have been vastly preferably to a nationwide, compulsory lockdown.
“I would not have thought the measures necessary,” Reikel said. “I am in favor of the Swedish way, with recommendations that distance be kept and that people who are at risk stay at home.”
“What we have seen in the last six weeks has been excessive,” she added. “We have become a people of compliers and snitches.”
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