Numbers play a central role in the fight against the pandemic – especially the 50. For example, 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week were the declared goal of the government. But now the heyday of the 50 seems to be over.
ARD capital studio
Among all the numbers of the pandemic, she was the star in Germany for months: The 50th She is the central target of the Chancellor in the fight against Corona. 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, that’s something like Merkel’s minimum standard. From their point of view, openings should only be possible again when Germany as a whole is below this.
“We have fixed ourselves on this number of 50 in Germany,” said FDP leader Christian Lindner in the Bundestag these days. But he did not mean it – like many others before and after him – as praise for the Chancellor. She is very aware of the criticism of her target mark: “It is then said: ‘Yes, it is fictitious’.”
Which is not quite true. But neither is completely wrong. Because: the rise of the number 50 was never scientifically founded, politics helped it to fame and honor. The federal government and federal states have set the 50. But they did not roll the dice, but had it calculated, “what could be the average performance of a health department so that one can understand the contacts,” said the Chancellor. “This creates the 50th. Not on any scientific basis.”
Health authorities should be able to track contacts
From an incidence of 50, a health department should be able to track contacts again. Some can do more, some are overwhelmed with less. But 50 should be an average – a round number, a solid thing. And finally, after weeks of lockdown, the infections are receding. And the Chancellor also recognizes with a trace of satisfaction “that the 50s incidence, which has a certain significance for us, is within reach or sight.”
Hairdressers should therefore be allowed to reopen from March and many schools too. The 50 is coming. But the closer it gets, the more the top of politics distances itself from it: “We have developed the perspective with the number 35”, declared Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder after the last decision-making round. So now 35. The reason: “This is basically a cautious benchmark for the mutation.”
The 35 could become the new 50
Which probably means: Because the new mutations are even more contagious than the previous virus, the numbers can go up again even faster. That is why, for example, shops and museums should only be allowed to reopen when the incidence is below 35. A safety buffer so that you don’t have to close it again after opening. So is 35 the new star in the numbers sky?
“It is undisputed that if they are under ten, they can track the contacts very well,” said the Chancellor in January. Merkel also knows: “It is easier to keep a grip on it, of course, under ten. But we are not only responsible for the question of epidemiology, but also for the question: How long can we justify which restrictions?”
And so the heyday of the 50 is probably over. The ten might be too ambitious. So good chances for the 35 for a great political career.
Corona policy by numbers: Politicians are looking at these values
Marcel Heberlein, ARD Berlin, February 12, 2021 11:11 p.m.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7116