Cool, calm and collected, this is how the British prefer to see themselves: calm, relaxed and collected. And compared to the German reaction to the new Coronavirus variant Omikron, which borders on panic, one is inclined to say: you are right.
The question, however, is, if one does not believe in something like national character, where does one get this calm in the kingdom? Because actually there is no reason to sit back and relax.
The number of infections is increasing here and there. In Germany, there were recently plus or minus 70,000 new infections within 24 hours – in Great Britain, with 17 million fewer inhabitants, around 50,000.
The seven-day incidence on the island has been between 300 and 500 for months – in Germany it is currently 450.
And when it comes to the vaccination quota, the two do not give each other much: Great Britain, which got off to a strong start with the campaign, is where Germany has now arrived after a much criticized stumbling block – with almost 68 percent of the total population who are double vaccinated.
Two different ways – a similar result
A very similar picture. Both of them got to this point in very different ways – and they also deal very differently with the state and progress of Corona things.
Under the motto personal responsibility instead of regulations, almost all corona measures were suspended in England in the summer of July 19: “Freedom Day”. Since then, wearing masks and keeping your distance has been voluntary in most places. There are no longer any restrictions on clubs or private parties, and theaters and cinemas are also allowed to fully occupy their halls again.
“When should we do it if not now?” Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked at the time. Thousands of partygoers welcomed their newfound freedom in London and other major cities. Despite all the horrific case numbers. The resolution is valid and is very well received. Until today.
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While in this country, in the face of very similar numbers, tough and consistent measures from a renewed lockdown to mandatory vaccination are being considered and discussed somewhat excitedly, little is heard from the island. Leaving aside the voices of some doctors, they warn that more caution would be better and that a return to the mask requirement, home office and distance requirements are indicated, but their calls have so far been more or less unheard.
Why do they do that?
First, as Andreas Stamm writes in a ZDF article on the topic: Despite the same vaccination level in the general population, the rate among the elderly is much higher on the island. Over 90 percent of those most at risk are vaccinated. The fact that Germany does significantly worse in the over-60s is now taking revenge.
Second: This group was the first to get in with the booster shot, and the willingness to give a third shot is also very high.
Third, since the pandemic began, many more Britons have fallen ill and have recovered. This natural immunity is not (yet) the same as herd immunity, but it seems to be a strong additional protection at the moment. The incidence 500 barrier has not been broken since the summer.
But it is also correct that the same number of people vaccinated and recovered much more in Great Britain – but many more have already died: 170,000, i.e. almost twice as many per 100,000 inhabitants as in Germany.
Perhaps the final word on the British matter has not yet been spoken, the forced optimism of British Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who said this week that Britain will be the first country to beat the pandemic, is a little premature.
The tabloid “Daily Mail” turned it into a triumphant headline with photos of Christmas markets in Germany and Austria that had been swept empty and with the image of burning barricades during the demonstrations against Corona measures in Belgium.
Now there is B.1.1.529, the rapidly spreading variant from South Africa that could change everything again. It was confirmed Saturday that there are two cases of Omikron infection in the UK as well.
If the variant is really much more infectious, if previous vaccinations actually offer less protection, if the boosters don’t help, if intensive care beds are running out and the number of deaths increases dramatically – maybe the British will lose their temper. And call for a prime minister, a policy, a government that does more to contain the virus than swear the will not to let the pandemic disturb you.
Source From: Tagesspiegel