Angela Merkel’s reaction came late – as usual. Like her “Wir schaffen das“, her words to the German people this time were just as meaningless as always and at the same time as “uplifting” as Boris Johnson’s words of achieving herd immunity and losing loved ones due to COVID-19. She simply stated that 60-70 percent of Germans might be infected with the new disease and that we will simply have to deal with it. If you do the math: 60% of the German population constitute roughly of 50 million people.

When the first news of a new disease from China arrived in Germany and finally made it into mainstream media in early January, it seemed like another attempt to spread panic like with many previous epidemics. Many Europeans will still remember the mass-hysteria created by the news about the Mad Cow Disease in the early nineties, SARS or MERS and also the bird or swine flu in recent years. This new pathogen is different though. SARS-CoV-2 seems less dangerous at first glance, as many have suggested or even do so until today, it seems just like a form of the common cold or the flu. And precisely that is what makes it so dangerous. The incubation time is long, some patients don’t show any, others just minor symptoms and so the disease can spread relatively fast and undetected for a long time. And while the flu has a relatively low mortality rate, the new disease COVID-19 can be by far more deadly – a reality many Germans still seem to forget or to suppress. Even as the government measures get ever more drastic. Precisely because many people – mostly young people – still ignore the threat this virus poses to Europe an overall curfew seems unavoidable in this end. But let us start at the beginning.

Germany, as with so many issues in our current times, is also divided when it comes to the danger we are facing right now – which is SARS-CoV-2. The country is once again divided along invisible lines, yet this time they are not political. At least not solely. Let us begin by looking at the official reactions from the German ruling class. Jens Spahn, the German Minister of Health, was very quick in changing his mind on COVID-19. At first, he promised the German public that there was absolutely nothing to worry about (which led many on the dissident right to worry). Just around a week later he spoke of a serious situation but never forgot to mention how well prepared the country was. A few days later he told the German people that we could now start to speak of an epidemic in Germany and in mid-March finally schools, kindergartens and universities nationwide are being closed. The borders though remained open at first because according to specialists it would not have made any sense to close them since many infected already came in – so why even bother. On the contrary, Germany even took in some “refugees” from Lesbos of which five (and possibly even more) were infected with the nCoV and one Afghan supposedly already escaped the reception center if one is to believe dissident media. And while this might very well just be fake news, no one on the right would be seriously surprised if this story were true as it absolutely agrees with the modern German political mindset: migrants first, German citizens last or even never.

Angela Merkel’s reaction came late – as usual. Like her “Wir schaffen das“, her words to the German people this time were just as meaningless as always and at the same time as “uplifting” as Boris Johnson’s words of achieving herd immunity and losing loved ones due to COVID-19. She simply stated that 60-70 percent of Germans might be infected with the new disease and that we will simply have to deal with it. If you do the math: 60% of the German population constitute roughly of 50 million people. Now, if we assume a mortality rate of only 1%, we end up with around 500,000 dead Germans (as most migrants are rather young, the chance of hitting mostly elderly Germans is quite high). And that is a very generous calculation. Merkel continued to speak of the necessity for limiting social contacts, dynamic developments of epidemics and spewed out a lot of fancy words that in the end won’t help the German public to deal with this crisis at all. This is her one political move: meaningless speeches and empty words. And at the same time, while speaking of the need for every German citizen to limit social contacts, she strongly defended her open-border-policies for the longest possible time and made it impossible for stronger border controls due to the current virus outbreak. Merkel’s one goal seems to be to keep German, and in the end European borders open and porous. As for why exactly remains a mystery and will maybe only be explained by absurd sounding conspiracy theories.

Finally, even the German borders had to be closed for tourism and even refugees (for the most part – minors from Lesbos are still being taken in) which was called impossible for the longest time under Angela Merkel. This current crisis – however horrible and painful it is for Europe – still proves that the nation state is the only reliable safety mechanism and that globalism itself is a disease that endangers our very existence. In this case by allowing a virus to travel unhindered through our countries. And as Ursula von der Leyen later admitted: a virus that many experts and most political elites underestimated for a long time.

The most revealing reaction of the German ruling class though was granting infinite credits to German businesses before making any decision on closing schools, kindergartens, public places, universities or borders. Once again it became painfully obvious what matters most to the so-called German elites: money. The Volk, once the most important aspect of German politics, is worth nothing to the modern ruling class – if anything, it is a disturbance and must be abolished. Granted, the economy mustn’t be destroyed as an economical depression would just worsen our problems but still, are economical concerns the most pressing issues in the end? Or should the lives of the people come first in any consideration?

But how about the reaction of the only legitimate German parliamentary opposition, the AfD? Well, while the whole country is divided, so is the AfD. Alice Weidel, the co-leader of the AfD, and most of the leading figures within the party, warned the German people of the consequences of COVID-19 in social media rather early on, while many in the party-base still spoke of mass-hysteria and media designed panic. And like many other European right-wing parties, be it in France, Italy or Austria, the AfD in general and on a federal level demanded stricter border controls or closed borders not only regarding mass-migration but also regarding the developing pandemic. And yet, as always, their warnings were cast aside, and they were blamed for exploiting the current situation.

Aside from politics, the German people themselves are divided as well – even up until this day. There are for example those who don’t take the situation seriously enough and still joke about what is happening. They will claim that this is just media created panic and that this new virus is nothing worse than an ordinary flu. They joke about people who are genuinely scared and mock them for worrying. Maybe some of them only use humor as an outlet for their latent fear. Others are very concerned and seem to overreact. The German media shows empty shelves in supermarkets and speak of so-called Hamsterkäufe (literally: hamster buying, translated: panic buying, hoarding) of noodles and toilet paper. Disinfectants are sold out and so are masks. Pharmacies even got special short-term permission for mixing disinfectants themselves. And while the number of newly infected in Germany is rising drastically so is the concern of the ordinary people and the laughter seems to slowly fade away. The general consensus seems to be that closing schools etc. is valid and necessary and even limitations in public and social life will be mostly accepted. Only the most active spreaders of COVID-19 seem to not understand the seriousness of the situation: many young people still gather outside in large groups and underestimate what is happening in the world around them. If Germany has to go on lock-down it will be because of Generation Greta. Companies on the other hand are more responsible and demand stricter rules concerning hand hygiene and ask for avoiding physical contacts. The public and professional sector seems to take the dangers more seriously than some politicians and the young. And while the ruling elites only hesitate and give empty speeches, ordinary Germans create neighborhood-chat-groups to organize people who can go shopping for elderly neighbors. Maybe the one good thing about a crisis like this is the growing solidarity among Germans – and Italians alike.

But after all, one big fear remains: the former cost cuts in the health sector leave German hospitals understaffed and badly equipped. Germany is still awaiting the peak of the nCoV-crisis and our hospitals are not prepared at all. For a long time, public funding went into mass-migration. Therefore, the health sector is badly equipped just like our Bundeswehr. In times of crisis this is very bad news. For many years, health professions weren’t paid well enough and many specialists left the country leaving us with – in some cases – badly trained Third World doctors. The few good German doctors who remain still aren’t paid enough and work too many hours. The same is true for German nurses. And yet, Germany might be better equipped than many other European countries as the number of our beds for intensive care still surpass most of our neighbors.

That might explain why the COVID-19 numbers for Germany don’t look too dire just yet. While the number of infections rises constantly and quite fast, the number of deaths is comparably low. But even those numbers are due to rise. And some sources already suggest that the official statistics are simply false. How is it possible that Germany has such a low mortality rate while countries like Iran and Spain – both being in the same numerical range of infections – have far higher numbers? Maybe the German officials simply don’t list some deaths adequately and record them as pneumonia or flu cases? Or maybe Germany is just a little behind in the epidemic-schedule and will have a bad awakening once the underfunded hospitals have to face the true scale of this pandemic? Or are we simply a bit better staffed and prepared than others? We will know soon enough.

Now the only thing we can do as Germans and as Europeans is to stand together and show solidarity with each other. We won’t be able to count on our political caste. After all, with their actions they are more likely to cause distrust and dispute among European nations than to unite us. But unity is what we need in times of crisis more than anything.

Closing this article, I wish to tell my Italian brothers and sisters, that my heart is with you and so is the heart of the German people. Our politicians might not be of any service to you but we the people have not forgotten about your struggle. We are with you in spirit. We are still facing what you have been fighting for a while now and truly, I hope the German people will be as brave and strong as you are now. Viva l’Italia! Andrà tutto bene!



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