Corona is a Flat Circle
For the third autumn in a row, the German press screeches about overwhelmed hospitals, and there’s no reason to think they’ll ever stop.
It’s virus season, and the headlines are already here: Many New Corona Infections: Hospitals Demand Indoor Mask Mandate — Lauterbach Already Hopes for Corona Restrictions — High Covid Incidences: Medical Association Wants Compulsory FFP2 Masks Indoors — Corona: Baden-Württemberg Health Minister Considers Mask Mandate Possible. I could add a dozen more, but you get the idea. It’s the same reheated pablum from last year. Hospital staff have their backs against the wall; a new tide of Corona patients threatens to overwhelm their meagre resources; the Apocalypse threatens if we don’t immediately return to indoor plastic face coverings.
If you look at hospitalisations, though, you’ll have a hard time finding any crisis at all. Here, for example, are hospitalisations for severe acute respiratory infections since 2017, as published last week by the Robert Koch Institut:
The red dot is where we are right now. Admissions are totally in line with the pre-pandemic era. The ICU admissions tell exactly the same story:
Nor is anybody really dying at the moment:
To the extent that there is any crisis at all here, it’s of our own making. Hospital patients with Corona diagnoses have to be treated according to strict isolation protocols, in special wards. These rituals are staff-intensive, and they effectively reduce across-the-board hospital capacity. It’s the same as our quarantine laws, which induce worker shortages by forcing millions of otherwise healthy Germans into isolation whenever they test positive. We could declare a rhinovirus pandemic tomorrow and suffer all the same problems from the common cold, and by the same token we could end all of this ourselves in an instant, by abolishing our foolishness and choosing to ignore SARS-2. Instead, we insist that this virus is dangerous and through our own behaviour we make it so.
The most onerous part of all this, is the inability of the German press to find a new narrative, ask new questions, or to change their reporting in any way at all — despite the totally different behaviour of Omicron and the near-universal levels of immune exposure to SARS-2. I know some of you complain that I repeat the same themes and arguments overmuch, but Germany has descended into some kind of purgatorial alternate reality, where it’s always March 2020, and our hospitals are always on the verge of melting down, and we never have enough information, so we just have to try masking and social distancing and hope for the best. They’re wrong about everything and they just keep telling the same lies over and over.
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