It will happen. During the summer, people in Germany are reluctant to believe that the coronavirus pandemic could be as bad as it is in other countries. Most have been able to get around the restrictions imposed in the spring, apart from the many artists, freelancers, and bartenders who were hit hard and now struggle to make ends meet.
But generally, people agree with pretense. With a show of strength, hospital staff and health authorities were somehow able to give the impression that the worst was over. But this is wrong. The number of infections is now increasing at an alarming rate, which is why the German government and different heads of state have pulled the emergency brake. We will be lockdown for a month – and we’ll wait like we did in the spring.
There’s no need to play the blame game
It would be wrong to find the culprit. This is what distinguishes this time from March and April. No one really knows why the number of cases is increasing so fast. Are the people said to have partied in private homes? Or dozens of young people partying in the park? Does it make sense to close hotels in areas where there are as many infections as some federal states are trying to do before courts overturn their decisions?
There is research that shows that hotel stays make little difference to the number of cases. Despite this, several heads of state continued to act. It was clear that the panic in the face of the unknown had died down. Even today, the transmission rates in Germany are much lower than in many other European countries, but there is now lack of confidence that politicians will tackle the matter on their own and handle the pandemic calmly and carefully.
Hotels must now accept that in November at least private tourism will be banned. Who still wants to travel with restaurants and bars closing too? Such as theaters and concert halls. Big events cannot possibly happen. Even small events should be minimized.
But kindergartens and schools will remain open: At least one good lesson learned from the start of this year. In addition, the government said it would compensate businesses that were forced to close up to 75% of their lost income.
That might cost around 10 billion euros – but it would be a good investment.
Public enthusiasm is required
It will be a cold, dark November. And this time, perhaps more than in the spring, the best democratic virtue is needed: Public morale. We need to look for the weakest in society and try not to go crazy when some people once again start churning out their wild conspiracy theories.
After all, it is not Chancellor Angela Merkel or Bill Gates, let alone the leaders of evil world governments, who are responsible for this temporary suffering, but a virus that every day proves how dangerous it is.
We should hope that this quiet November will herald a change for the better. No one can promise this. But right now, we have no other choice but to sit still.