“Switch off panic mode”: KBV boss Gassen speaks Corona plain text

Britta Pedersen / dpa-Zentralbild / ZB

Andreas Gassen (58) is chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), which is Germany’s top statutory health insurance physician. During the multi-month lockdown from mid-March onwards, his 170,000 contract doctors kept the hospitals’ backs free to care for the people. And that without much grumbling, although there was corona fear in the practices for weeks due to the lack of protective equipment.

After a comparatively low number of cases from early summer, the number of infected people has recently risen again. Politicians are now looking at the upcoming autumn and winter with concern, only recently tightened the corona rules by limiting events, deciding on minimum fines for those who refuse to wear a mask and continuing to issue travel warnings.

“The numbers give reason to rethink Corna measures”

Gassen, on the other hand, urges prudence. If you take a closer look at the infection process, there are currently no explosive corona hotspots, the hospitals have a considerable amount of free intensive care capacities, the number of intensive care patients and deaths are still at a low level. “You can turn off panic mode,” he tells “The numbers give reason to rethink corona measures without becoming reckless.”

Specifically, Gassen means events, for example: “I don’t see why a stadium for up to 60,000 people can’t accommodate events with 5,000 to 8,000 people, as was successfully practiced at the Waldbühne in Berlin at the end of August.” just how to avoid bottlenecks with close contacts so that the risk of infection is minimized.

The risk of a second wave cannot currently be seriously assessed. “I don’t know whether there will be a real second wave or rather several smaller ‘permanent waves'”, says Gassen. In any case, the previous figures would not provide a corresponding forecast. However, Gassen speaks out in favor of not orienting too much towards numbers such as R-value or infection numbers. “Everything always revolves around the numbers, but nobody can interpret them really well”.

Gassen criticized back and forth on the subject of quarantine

The decisive factor is how dangerous the virus is. So it is right to protect risk groups. “But you don’t have to panic right away if, for example, an otherwise healthy person gets Corona. ”With regard to the spread, it is also important whether there are Corona hotspots that are getting out of hand. However, this is currently a long way off.

The KBV boss understands that politicians are still worried. However, the back and forth over the past few weeks is incomprehensible, for example on the subject of mandatory testing for returnees. “There is no organizing hand, which may also be due to federalism,” said Gassen.

Countries must guarantee a supply of masks for autumn and winter

The statutory health insurance physicians are currently preparing to vaccinate the population as soon as the appropriate means are available. How exactly this actually works in the end is not yet clear. “That depends, for example, on how the vaccine has to be stored: If it needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees, the agent has to be filled or it is already delivered in syringes.”

It is difficult to predict whether the doctor’s offices will then be overcrowded with dozens of flu patients. “That depends on the temperatures in autumn and winter”. But it is optimistic that the practices will manage it. In doing so, Gassen warns politicians to provide sufficient protective equipment such as masks: “It is important that we take precautions here, especially the countries. However, I currently see that we are giving away a lot of masks. If it is not enough again in autumn and winter, then the understanding in the practices will be zero. “


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