Zero Covid policy becomes zero number

Dear readers,

Germany is gradually learning to live with the corona virus. More and more federal states are saying goodbye to isolation and mask requirements. Not so at the other end of the world: China is still in a pandemic state of emergency. Lockdowns, corona tests and forced quarantines are on the agenda there. The country continues to be under the misconception that it can eliminate the virus once and for all. It has long been clear that life like before Corona will no longer exist.

Biggest mass protest in decades

The rulers in China do not seem to want to accept this, but more and more citizens do. Thousands of them gathered on the streets of several Chinese cities over the weekend to protest the zero-Covid policy. It was the largest mass protest in the People’s Republic for decades, reported my colleagues Fabian Kretschmer and Matthias Koch. “We don’t want PCR tests, we want freedom,” the protesters shouted.

Your displeasure is understandable and justified. But can he do anything? “Should there really be no concessions, the government would be taking a big risk,” says East Asia expert Christoph Steinhardt in an RND interview. Not only because the anger in the population is likely to increase, but also because the current strategy with record infection numbers gives the virus too many opportunities to mutate. China must develop better pandemic management in the short term, but also in the long term. Because Corona will not be the last pandemic virus, as you can read in our “What’s coming” section.

Nevertheless, remain confident!

Yours, Laura Beigel

The pandemic and us

The most important news, scientific findings and tips for life in a crisis – every second Thursday.

what was important

Several federal states, including Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria, have now lifted the obligation to isolate. This also has consequences for teachers. Despite positive corona tests, they should now come to school if they have no symptoms and teach there with a mask.

This decision was “grossly negligent”, criticized the President of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger. There is a risk that the corona-positive teachers will infect other colleagues with previous illnesses or students with risk persons in the family. “We must not jeopardize the health of teachers and students,” Meidinger told RND. From the point of view of the epidemiologist Hajo Zeeb, if there is no obligation to isolate, there is a risk that a wave of infection will spread in the school.

everyday knowledge

The Federal Ministry of Health has tightened the rules for rapid corona tests. From now on, they should only be free for four groups instead of the previous ten. Do not have to pay anything for the tests:

  • Residents and employees of care facilities
  • Visitors to hospitals, rehabilitation and care facilities
  • Employees in outpatient care services
  • People who have to test themselves after a proven corona infection and isolation

For everyone else, the previous co-payment regulation no longer applies. This means that anyone who does not belong to the groups of people mentioned and would like to be tested must bear the full cost of the test.

Well said

The situation for the virus is becoming precarious. It’s good. It’s no longer the case that the virus could completely turn the game around with a few mutations.

Christian Drosten,

Director of the Institute for Virology at the Berlin Charité

What’s coming

It is still not entirely clear how exactly the coronavirus spread to humans. But one thing is certain: In the future, zoonoses of this kind – i.e. diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans – will become more common.

“The probability that we will soon have another pandemic is very high,” warned the Hamburg evolutionary biologist Matthias Glaubrecht in the RND interview. And people themselves are to blame for this, because they interfere too much with the environment and the habitats of wild animals. From the researcher’s point of view, the corona pandemic was another wake-up call. But: “We only seem to be able to learn with the mallet method,” he said. “And we’ll probably need a few hammer blows.”

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Healthy additional knowledge

A child suffering from RSV lies in a sickbed: the first hospitals and medical practices are overloaded because of the many respiratory infections in children.

A child suffering from RSV lies in a sickbed: the first hospitals and medical practices are overloaded because of the many respiratory infections in children.

RSV, this abbreviation stands for respiratory syncytial virus. A pathogen that is not new, mind you – it was already rampant before Corona – but which is currently spreading particularly rapidly in Germany. Children are mainly affected. The virus causes respiratory diseases in them, sometimes so severe that they have to be treated in hospital. The first children’s clinics and pediatric and adolescent doctor’s offices are already overburdened.

My colleague Irene Habich wrote down what parents should know about RSV. For example, you should pay attention to whether your child develops a fever. If the body temperature rises to more than 39 degrees Celsius, the fever lasts for several days, antipyretics are not effective or a febrile convulsion occurs, medical advice must be sought. The same applies to symptoms such as shortness of breath, diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain.

Which makes life easier

Admit it: How many bad buys hang in your closet? How many things have you bought and then not used?

To ensure that this never happens again, RND author Sarah Franke asked psychologists for tips and tricks. They advise, for example, not to be tempted to make a purchase right away, but rather to sleep on it one more night. It can also help to train resistance. Anyone who tends to make impulse purchases should walk through the city center more often, look in shop windows and try not to buy anything. That will probably not always work, says psychologist Hans-Georg Häusel, but the bad buy rate could decrease in the long term.

What else is important

Hundreds of sheep running in circles for several days in a row: Many people on the Internet have racked their brains over this video from China. Why are the sheep running in circles, they wondered. And why over several days?

My colleague Vivien Valentiner tried to solve the mystery of the mysterious sheep circle – and asked Martin Ganter from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover. He doesn’t think the animals were sick, as some users have speculated. In fact, they were just bored. “This area there is without any incentive. There is no food, no vegetation, just sand,” the vet explained. The perfect circular formation is again due to herd behavior: one animal runs ahead, the others behind.

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