The corona numbers are high, and they will probably continue to rise in autumn. Nevertheless, politicians are dealing with the situation with alarming carelessness. Lauterbach warns, Buschmann brakes and Scholz watches. Leadership looks different.

Because of summer, sun, sunshine. The corona virus does not take vacations. The nationwide incidence (infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days) has risen to almost 700. For comparison: A year ago this value was 5! So we have a strong summer wave.

However, since test evidence is hardly ever required anywhere, fewer and fewer people are being tested. The actual number of infected people is therefore likely to be even higher. And the autumn wave, which is certainly much worse, is still to come.

Against this background, it must be alarming how carelessly politicians are dealing with this challenge. Of course, the war in Ukraine, the impending energy shortage and inflation pose particular challenges for the Federal Government and the Bundestag.

But tomorrow Parliament will say goodbye for two months of summer vacation. New measures against the pandemic can therefore only be decided in September. Forward-looking politics looks different.

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So there is a lot to be said for us stumbling into the autumn wave – similar to the past. The amendments to the Infection Protection Act passed in March are limited until September 23.

If the traffic light coalition has not agreed on an extension or new measures by then, the state parliaments cannot, for example, decide to make masks compulsory in areas with particularly high infection rates, so-called hotspots.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) warns and warns and warns. But what was once the nation’s favorite minister is not very convincing. As with the compulsory vaccination he is aiming for, he cannot assert himself against the coalition partner FDP.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann in particular categorically rules out tough measures such as a lockdown or school closures. The Free Democrats take credit for the fact that there are currently hardly any restrictions. An FDP MP summarized the situation as follows: If Lauterbach cannot come to an agreement with Buschmann, the FDP minister “wins”. Because on September 23, the measures provided for in the Infection Protection Act expired.

The Free Democrats see themselves as a “freedom party”, while the Social Democrats and Greens form the “Team Caution” on the topic of Corona. The chancellor doesn’t even try to lead. Rather, he leaves it at appeals to the population.

For example, Olaf Scholz recommends the fourth vaccination for people over 60 and let the population know “that the mask will play a bigger role in autumn and winter than it does now.” Only: If the traffic light doesn’t get together, it can be mandatory to wear a mask in autumn give no more.

As is well known, Scholz announced the introduction of mandatory vaccinations last year, but was unable to push them through in the red-green-yellow coalition. Now he does not categorically rule out drastic measures such as school closures or a lockdown, but believes that we “no longer need” such restrictions. However, if such measures were to become necessary, the legal prerequisites for doing so are currently lacking.

When the corona virus reached Germany two years ago in February, the country was not prepared for it. Politicians had to act and inevitably made mistakes because nobody had any experience with such a pandemic. Even 28 months later, we still know far too little about the effectiveness of certain measures.

In its comprehensive report, the Commission of Experts for the Assessment of Corona Policy pointed out that there is a lack of important data for a comprehensive evaluation. Hard to believe, but true. Basically, the traffic light acts like the grand coalition. Hardly anything has been learned from the experiences made and we reacted hectically to every new wave. In addition, many people no longer take the virus seriously.

When masks are not compulsory, such as on trains or planes, only a small minority still protect themselves and others in this way. The government’s decision to charge the vast majority of people three euros for a test also encourages people to forego this “luxury”.

The number of people infected is constantly increasing because the new Omicron variants are more contagious than their predecessors. After all, the course of the disease in vaccinated people is usually milder than in the past.

But nobody knows how the situation will be in autumn and winter. From this point of view, it would be negligent to rule out certain measures from the outset, even if limiting the number of participants at events, extending the obligation to wear masks or even closing schools are highly unpopular.

Let’s not fool ourselves: Corona isn’t over and an “it’ll work out somehow” attitude is negligent. That’s why a well-stocked instrument box would be so important. But the government does not offer a convincing picture here: Lauterbach warns, Buschmann brakes and Scholz watches. Leadership looks different.