The new public health campaign against the summer heat is stupid and malicious, and it won't save any lives
Since the virus-pest-turned-heatwave-pest Karl Lauterbach announced his campaign against summer temperatures, German media will not let a single warm day pass without hyperventilation about the grave danger posed by hot weather. It’s highly interesting, how even the most idiotic and hare-brained political initiatives can so efficiently coordinate press coverage. If you’re a journalist with insight into precisely how this happens, I’d like to hear from you; please write to me at containment (at) tutanota (dot) com.
Whatever the mechanics, it’s becoming extremely obnoxious. Every time temperatures approach 30C, the newspapers fill with prewritten generic pieces urging everybody to shelter in place from the heretofore unnoticed menace of summer.
Westdeutscher Rundfunk screams that “heat is dangerous for your health” and that “high temperatures can heavily stress your heart and even be life-threatening.” They worry that outdoor temperatures of even 25C (77F) can cause worrying increases in body temperature, and they bring in a television doctor to tell everyone to stay inside between 1pm and 6pm everyday. Swimming in direct sunlight is bad; working out in high temperatures is bad. You’ll only survive if you hide in the shadows and drink a lot of water.
The Münchner Merkur chimes in with a piece pasted straight from the Health Ministry. You can tell because the advice is absolutely heinous: “Ventilation is not always refreshing”; you need to open your windows at night but then seal up your apartment during the day and close all the curtains, because reasons.1 Bizarrely, they also want you to put away your carpets (they are “heat sinks”), and in another spurt of doubtful folk remedy, to hang up “wet towels” to …. increase the humidity. The only thing worse than wet heat, is dry heat, according to our public health overlords.
At least one person has bothered to call attention to the sheer idiocy of all this. The meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann points out that sealed rooms with wet towels hanging everywhere are simply CO2-saturated environments, in which increased humidity makes ambient heat even more unbearable. He suggests, darkly, that the advice is a “cynical” effort to “relieve pension funds and free up living space.” In other words, it is cheapest and least problematic for European welfare states if the old die shut up alone in dark, humid, stuffy apartments.
Let’s get some obvious points out of the way first: