“I will continue to be the impatient part in this matter,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel recently at an event organized by the Süddeutsche Zeitung. On Monday she was unable to assert herself against the country chiefs. After the soft lockdown at the beginning of November (catering and leisure facilities are closed, private meetings are limited to two households with a maximum of ten people), the federal government proposed stricter measures, such as a mask requirement for students and teachers in class. The fact that schools are still open and that everyday life is less restricted than in Austria has to do with the low numbers. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the average value of new infections within seven days was 138.9 on Wednesday morning – in Austria it is 525.7.
With this in mind, a country comparison is necessary – and the question of whether Germany is dealing with the crisis differently?
It is communicated primarily by the Chancellor. Unexcited and sober in her way, but persistent, she has urged citizens to be cautious since the beginning of the pandemic – even in the rather relaxed summer, she swore by a difficult autumn. And yet saw no light at the end of the tunnel, although the land had come through the first wave well. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), extensive testing was carried out from the start and the pathogen was discovered early on. As a result, many cases were recorded that were mild. In addition, there were enough intensive care beds – even cases from Italy and France were included (as in Austria).
Merkel’s past as a scientist is also not insignificant. When she talks about infection rates at press conferences and does the math, she sounds like a virologist herself. The Chancellery and the ministries seek advice from experts, including the RKI and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Or Michael Meyer-Hermann, department head at the Helmholtz Center for Infectious Diseases, who described the seriousness of the situation at one of the federal-state meetings. The measures are fought for there every time, the infection situation differs from country to country.