Every day, Germany faces a record number of new infections in the omicron wave. But the course of the disease is often not difficult. For the assessment of the pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute now wants to focus less on the incidence over seven days than on the so-called burden of disease: the number and severity of illnesses should therefore now be values of important reference. Incidence, R-value, hospitalization, disease burden: Given the values and terms that change frequently during the corona crisis, it is easy to get confused, says political scientist Julia Reuschenbach. The “sensitive point” lies in political communication to fight the pandemic: according to her, politicians have so far failed to make their statements clear and understandable. As a result, many feel tired and exhausted.
The political scientist also criticizes the role played by journalism, in particular the tabloids. The fact that the editor of “Bild” and leading scientists have now started a dialogue is an “important signal”. But this dialogue also needs rules.
Referring to an article in which the journal “Bild” describes the researchers as alleged “lockdown makers”, Reuschenbach says: “If links are made between scientists* and their research results and policy decisions, then a line red is crossed. Germany makes the decisions on political measures to fight the pandemic, but politics. “Showing” people in an effective advertising manner in the cover photo and thereby putting them at risk is a “red line in speech”. Overall, Reuschenbach is skeptical that the tabloid practice of escalation and outrage will change in the long run. After all, it is “good news” that the editor of “Bild” participates in the discussion. And that science is also open to questions from the tabloids.