Germany Is Reopening. And Learning a Tough Lesson

People on the Landwehr Canal in Berlin, May 9.
Christian Mang/Reuters

Date of Publication: May 18, 2020

Source: The New York Times

Germany has been admired for the way they have handled the first wave of COVID-19: curve has flattened, with stable number of new infections, and low absolute number of deaths and fatality rate compared to other countries. 

Now, as Germany begins to open, it is clear the path out of lockdown is more difficult than the path into lockdown. To prepare for the lockdown, Germany had increased intensive care beds, increased testing capacity, halted public life by closing schools, shops and borders and introduced social distancing measures that banned gatherings of more than two people. The success of these measures led the 16 states of Germany to consider easing lockdown on May 6.

Each state has regional autonomy for easing their way out of lockdown, with one condition: If new case numbers rise above 50 in 100,000 in inhabitants across 7 days in an area, local authorities must reinstall restrictions. There is disagreement in using this strategy between experts. Some say that with better monitoring, regional action can take place rather than having the whole country in lockdown, while others worry this approach is too unsystematic and could result in outbidding between states as regional economies begin to open. 

With projections that the economy has entered a recession, and 10.1 million Germans applying for wage subsidies, the question of who will pay is “likely to define the next months and years, setting off a dirty lobbying war and political turmoil.”

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/opinion/germany-coronavirus-reopening.html?smid=tw-share

Summary by: Jayoti Rana