Monday, January 17, 2022

"Always surprises" Scientist contributes "Markus Lanz" gloomy prognosis

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In view of the almost unchecked spread of the omicron variant, important areas of social life could come to a standstill. The modeler Dirk Brockmann explained why vaccination is important despite the low level of protection against infection.

Omicron, compulsory vaccination, pension policy. Markus Lanz confronted his talk guests with urgent questions on Thursday and was rewarded with strong contributions to the discussion. The physicist Dirk Brockmann, presented by Lanz as “one of the best modellers in the country”, considered 6 million infections with the omicron variant in Germany within a period of just ten days to be possible. In this case, the consequences for the critical infrastructure could be serious.

The guests:

Against this background, Brockmann repeatedly emphasized the importance of the corona vaccination. This is “absolutely critical and important”. A statement that only seemed to contradict the scientist’s initial statement, according to which the vaccination offered “practically no protection against infection”. In order to avoid misunderstandings, the expert on the dynamics of complex systems never tired of emphasizing that a distinction must be made between protection against infection and protection against a serious course of the disease.

“While the vaccination is extremely important, including the booster vaccination to protect against serious illnesses, it is now the case with the omicron variant that the protection against the infection, i.e. if you are vaccinated twice, practically after a short time is no longer there after the second vaccination and also subsides very quickly after the booster vaccination,” says Brockmann. The result: the infection dynamics at Omikron are almost unchecked, but the number of hospitalizations is significantly lower in relation to the incidence.

The professor at Berlin’s Humboldt University advised against idly watching the incredibly rapid spread. “It’s clever to keep this omicron wave in check as much as possible,” Brockmann stated with a view to the possible loss of millions of workers and advised to think about the duration of the quarantine and to be prepared for all eventualities. “A key point of this pandemic is that there were always surprises,” was his conclusion.

SPD politician Ralf Stegner self-critically had to admit that politicians have not always sufficiently heeded this point in the recent past. It was a mistake to refuse compulsory vaccination, admitted the Social Democrat, who had spoken out against it last summer and is now a “decided supporter” by his own admission.

Stegner also warned of a collapse in supply in the areas of security, health, finance, energy and transport as a result of countless infections with the Omicron variant. “Not only would we have chaos within a very short time, but mass panic would arise,” the SPD man pointed out and promised a vote on compulsory vaccination before the end of the current quarter, i.e. by the end of March.

At the same time, Stegner defended the controversial government line of letting the Bundestag decide on the parties’ plans for mandatory vaccinations in a free vote and after another debate, instead of introducing their own project and implementing it with the – albeit by no means certain – coalition majority.

The head of the Berlin parliamentary office of the “Rheinische Post”, Kerstin Münstermann, spoke of “perhaps the biggest vote we’ve had in a long time”. In the government’s hesitant behavior, she recognized above all “fear of one’s own courage”. In addition, there is clear opposition to compulsory vaccination in the FDP.

In view of the procrastination and procrastination, Monika Schnitzer even saw parallels to the other major topic of the evening, pension policy. The economist gave Germany the choice between a fundamental pension reform or net immigration of 400,000 people per year when it came to old-age security. In view of the relatively high emigration rate, that would be 1.5 million people who would have to move to Germany every year.

“We really have to look all over the world,” demanded Schnitzer, who, however, did not seem to believe in the possibility of such high levels of immigration and therefore referred to the importance of the other parameters. For example, the professor at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich suggested raising pensions less, to compensate for a redistribution in favor of people with smaller pensions and to invest part of the pension contributions in the stock markets.

Münstermann, who also assessed the situation “quite pessimistically” and described young people as “absolute losers” in pension policy, brought up the additional possibility of increasing pension contributions. So bleak prospects for state pensions, and of all things shortly after Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) had promised “a substantial pension increase” for this year and had opposed attempts to “talk the statutory pension to pieces”.

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