All of the parties in the German parliament (Bundestag) support a policy of allowing the COVID-19 infection to spread—with all of the subsequent devastating consequences. The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP-Socialist Equality Party, German section of the International Committee of the Fourth International) was the only party in the election campaign fighting for a policy to completely eradicate the coronavirus pandemic on a global basis.
Andreas Gassen, head of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, was particularly outspoken a few days ago. Gassen, a specialist for orthopaedics and accident surgery, demanded a “clear political signal: That in six weeks we will also celebrate a Freedom Day!” He told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that “after the experience of Great Britain,” it was also time for Germany to “have the courage” to lift all pandemic restrictions on October 30.
Gassen’s reference to the “experience of Great Britain” reveals the full brutal extent of what he advocates. Currently, the United Kingdom is again recording around 30,000 new infections per day and deaths in the hundreds. The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) denounced this very same policy as “social murder” some time ago.
Gassen’s proposal has been met with considerable opposition on the part of the public but is essentially in line with the stance of all of the politicians with influence at a federal and state level. The German Health Minister Jens Spahn (Christian Democratic Union, CDU), for example, has distanced himself from Gassen’s proposal, but expected the pandemic to be “over” by spring. Spahn told the Augsburger Allgemeine that it was “very unlikely” that a new virus variant would emerge against which vaccination offered no protection. And then “we will have overcome the pandemic by the spring and return to normality,” Spahn said last Wednesday.
All of the Bundestag politicians, regardless of political affiliation, are in practice pursuing a course of ruthlessly infecting the population. In doing so they accept that many thousands more will die. Despite an explosive increase in the number of cases among children and adolescents, they have fully reopened schools in all German states.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is expanding dramatically worldwide as the highly contagious Delta variant takes hold and even worse mutations are quite possible. The US, Brazil and India are all experiencing devastating new outbreaks with thousands of deaths every day. In Europe, the World Health Organisation has warned of another 236,000 deaths by December 1.
In Germany, a fourth pandemic wave is also erupting with the start of face-to-face schooling and the first cold days of autumn. The 7-day average of daily deaths rose to nearly 60 last Thursday and a total of 400 COVID-19 patients have died in the past week. Over the course of the past few days, the number of new infections has once again exceeded tens of thousands, and statistics indicate a high number of unreported cases.
At the end of last week, around 1,500 COVID-19 patients were receiving intensive treatment, with wards filling up day by day. This development was confirmed by a report by Cihan Çelik, a pulmonary physician, in the FAZ newspaper on September 19.
Çelik is head of an isolation ward for COVID-19 patients in Darmstadt. His hospital, he said, has had to transfer several COVID patients to other hospitals in recent days. The number of new admissions had fluctuated wildly for about three weeks. On several occasions, it had been necessary to expand the facilities for treatment of COVID patients with up to “ten Covid patients with a severe course” being admitted in the course of a single day.
Çelik also reported on “Covid patients with vascular complications such as thromboses, pulmonary embolisms and strokes.” His conclusion: “I’m afraid the current situation is just a taste of what’s in store for us this fall.”
Another report featuring Dr. Çelik, which appeared as a video for Der Spiegel magazine titled “Mavericks on the Corona-Station,” documents a number of horrific COVID cases with severe health consequences. “The fourth wave is here, and it is picking up speed,” the report states.
The video also shows that people who have been vaccinated twice usually have only mild symptoms, without pneumonia, but can still become infected. These are so-called “vaccine breakthroughs,” in which infected vaccinated people unknowingly spread the virus.
“Vaccination breakthroughs have been increasing since the Delta variant became rampant,” the report says, “with around 7,000 cases so far in Germany.”
This development is being systematically ignored. The current mantra of the country’s ruling politicians is that vaccination alone solves the problem. This is a deliberate misrepresentation and a dangerous fallacy. As important as vaccination is, it cannot defeat the pandemic without the implementation of a number of other measures. The Delta variant has a far higher R-value than the existing “wild type.” This means the pandemic will continue to spread even if 80 percent of the population or more is vaccinated.
Capitalist politicians don’t care, however, and have systematically downplayed the dangers of the fourth wave during the election campaign. The extent to which they themselves are becoming the driving factor for infection was evident in the measures they adopted just a few days before the election.
This applies first and foremost to the decision by federal and state governments to cancel compensation payments for unvaccinated people in quarantine. The state premiers claimed that by doing so, they would encourage vaccination among the group of those designated as “unwilling.”
In reality, this measure is highly dangerous. Denying the compensation for a quarantine loss of earnings, paid up until now, will result in countless outbreaks going undetected. How many infected people will continue to drag themselves to work for fear of losing pay? How many contacts will remain untested and how many infections will spread undetected and in secrecy until major outbreaks occur?
Another recently passed measure involves the cancellation of free “citizen testing.” This means that many people will be forced to pay for COVID-19 tests from October 11. This is stipulated in a new regulation issued by the Federal Ministry of Health on September 22.
This measure will also result in countless new infections going undetected. Nevertheless, the measure has been approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and all of the country’s 16 state premiers.
The Left Party, in particular, is fully supporting this policy. This is vividly demonstrated in the state of Thuringia, where the party is part of a coalition government and a Left Party member, Helmut Holter, is Minister of Education. In Thuringia, as of last week, there are to be no more rapid tests at schools, no more mandatory masks, and virtually no more quarantine rules for contact persons.
“This gives the virus free rein among unvaccinated children and young people over the next few months,” commented the teachers’ platform news4teachers.de in bewilderment.
Thuringia has the second highest COVID-19 mortality rate in all of Germany, after Saxony. The state has recorded 208 pandemic deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The national average is 112 per 100,000 inhabitants. More than 2,000 test results were positive in the first two weeks of school testing alone.
The example of Thuringia shows that all of the main parties are complicit in this contagion policy and act openly or quietly along the lines of the Freedom Day called for by Gassen. To keep the economy going, they insist on opening up schools in the midst of the fourth pandemic wave, abolish mass testing and categorically rule out any new lockdown.
To defeat the pandemic, the working class needs its own party to enforce internationally a consistent, science-based strategy for eradicating SARS-CoV-2, combining vaccination, contact tracing and isolation with consistent lockdowns. If world leaders had consistently addressed the pandemic in February and March 2020, they would have defeated the virus within weeks. Millions of people who died agonizing deaths in the last 18 months would be alive today.
The Socialist Equality Party is the only party that advocates putting human life, not profits, first. Therefore, WSWS calls on all its readers and SGP supporters to support this policy and build the SGP!