Chancellor Scholz Is Stuck Two Steps Behind The Virus
Germany Is Fighting The Last Outbreak, Not The Current One
Germany’s leaders agreed Friday to toughen requirements for entry to restaurants and bars, and decided to shorten quarantine and self-isolation periods as the omicron variant spreads fast through the country.
The rules as reported are a further division between those who are both fully vaccinated and boosted, and those who are either not boosted or not even fully vaccinated.
Friday’s decision calls for the requirements to be ratcheted up for restaurants and bars. Customers will have to show either that they have received a booster shot or provide a negative test result on top of proof that they have been vaccinated or recovered.
Those who are fully boosted are also exempt from quarantine and isolation requirements.
The driving rationale for the new rules is, of course, the Omicron variant. According to Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, the variant has jumped from 15.8% of tested samples to 44.3%, putting it within a day or two of becoming the defacto dominant variant in Germany.
Still Focused On Vaccination And Boosters
Unfortunately for Germans, Chancellor Scholz remains fixated on vaccines and boosters despite mounting evidence of their inefficacy. The shots don't prevent infection or transmission, nor do they have significant impact on whether COVID-19 patients wind up in hospital. As Alex Berenson has observed:
Even at the peak of their protection earlier in 2021, Covid vaccines barely reduced the risk of hospitalizations in vaccinated people who had “breakthrough” infections, new data show.
Even more ironic is the mounting evidence the vaccines provide little to no protection against Omicron, and may even increase the risk of Omicron infection.
This absolutely brutal preprint from Denmark shows zero vaccine effectiveness against Omicron beginning two months after “peak” protection (lol peak), and sharply negative protection three months out.
In other words, vaccinated people were much MORE likely to get Omicron beginning about 100 days after the second dose.
Chancellor Scholz is pushing a solution “the science” has already shown will not work.
Omicron Is Not Delta
Fortunately, Omicron is associated with much milder illness than is Delta. However, that makes Germany’s response to the Omicron outbreak that much more irrational. While Germany’s cases are up, Germany’s COVID-19 deaths are not.
Nor are Germany’s COVID-19 hospital admissions rising:
Even ICU admissions are down during this Omicron outbreak thus far.
Germans are getting sick…with the latest variant of the common cold.
Fighting The Last War
The cliche about generals always being prepared fight the last war is a fitting metaphor for Germany’s Omicron response. Despite the recent data discrediting the vaccines, and despite the evidence showing Omicron is little more than the common cold, the powers that be in Germany are behaving as if this early 2021, not the beginning of 2022. They are ignoring the practical ramifications of the German people already being highly vaccinated, yet still having to contend with Omicron. They are ignoring the demonstrated failures of the vaccines, choosing to believe the early propaganda that they were highly effective against the virus.
They are stuck in the past, not addressing the present.
The moral of this little tale is one I have said often during the pandemic: Follow the data. Recognize that facts and evidence can and will shift over time, and what may have been a reasoned response before may not be supported by the data now. Be prudent and careful, but be prudent and careful with what is known today, not what was known yesterday.
Governments should do this, but so far have been largely unwilling.
Yet individuals can and should do this as well. Whether it is a question of being vaccinated or not, or of taking other precautions proven to have some efficacy, taking the time to be familiar with all the data out there is a worthwhile investment in one's own health.
Germany is stuck two steps behind the virus, trapped by their government into dealing with the last outbreak, not the current one. The rest of us do not need to suffer the same fate.
Follow the data.