Restrictions on fundamental rights: More courage to be normal

Waiter with face mask and registration forms, guests in a café in Berlin: At some point there comes a point where you have to weigh up

Photo: Jochen Eckel / imago images / Jochen Eckel A mountain is best climbed one step at a time. But what do you do if the mountain is constantly being filled up again during the ascent?

Sars-CoV-2 kills many people tasted, undoubtedly. But the measures taken against the pandemic have also wreaked havoc. Many will only be seen later, when state support for companies or the self-employed ends. Others may even later, when it becomes clear how many children and adolescents have been severely impaired in their educational path or have suffered psychological damage.

After all, that’s what politics promised: As soon as everyone has received a vaccination offer, the top of the mountain is reached . From then on it goes down again, back to normal.

But that sounds quite good now that everyone could be vaccinated without prioritization different. A return to normalcy for all German citizens is now a long way off. Unvaccinated people should be prepared for an uncomfortable time. Pay for tests yourself, like Finance Minister Olaf Scholz ( SPD ) proposes. No more admission to larger joint events, such as Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) says. Certain offers such as visits to restaurants or the cinema could remain restricted “even for those who have not been vaccinated”, as Head of the Chancellery Helge Braun ( CDU ) brings into conversation.

This is like compulsory vaccination through the back door. As long as herd immunity is not achieved, the virus will be kept in new variants – and with it possibly the restrictions.

Yes, the data situation has changed. The number of people who want to be vaccinated has been overestimated. And the arguments in favor of caution should not be downplayed: Unvaccinated people, as carriers, endanger other people more than vaccinated people do, say many scientists. As the incidence increases, so does the risk that there will be more severe courses, says logic. There are people who cannot be vaccinated and stand there defenseless.

But at some point it will come Point at which one has to weigh up whether the danger justifies all of this: the restrictions on fundamental rights, the educational misery, the silent suffering of the children, the devastation of entire branches of the economy, the radicalization of part of the population in the face of the more or less open threat of at least one indirect compulsory vaccination. One should ask oneself whether too much is not breaking down in the finely woven web of our society. Whether the will of most citizens to obey the rules is not overstrained if too much is asked for too long.

Instead of normality control, the trend is intensifying to drive new scapegoats through the country. And there were already some who were held responsible for ensuring that the pandemic was not overcome.

mulled wine drinkers.

Mallorca tourists.

People who have visited their families abroad.

Migrants in general.

Children sledding.


Youngsters in parks.

So now the next scapegoats have been identified: people who do not want to be vaccinated.

Most of these people do not commit crimes, are nice neighbors, and often respected members of their communities. And yet they are made contemptuous, their fears dismissed. “The general public has to pay for the indolence and stupidity of those who oppose the vaccination,” says Leopoldina researcher Armin Falk.

That remains not without consequences, of course. Some of these people turn away from the state, in the worst case even from democracy. Others develop at least a problematic relationship with the police. These are also side effects of the corona measures.

Forcing or even just applying massive pressure is a bad idea.

We live in a free country. Many people have personally made the decision not to have a vaccination. You can like it or not, but it is your right. Given the duration of the pandemic, these decisions were certainly not made lightly, there was enough time to think about it. That has to be respected.

You can of course try to convince them, create incentives for them, make it easy for them, overcome language barriers , if necessary even a bratwurst or push over a hundred per syringe. But forcing them indirectly, or even putting them under massive pressure, is a bad idea. What this leads to can be followed in France or in Italy .

There seems to be no alternative for the government to go down the path of prohibitions, restrictions and pressure. But it is not. Perhaps the government will look to England or Sweden again. Yes, maybe the infection numbers there are faster than without restrictions (although they are already back in England sink). But these numbers alone are at a vaccination rate of more than 50 Percentages of double vaccinations are no longer the only relevant ones anyway if the death rate and hospitalization rate remain stable.

To put the responsibility for health back into the hands of the citizens instead of continuing to exercise extreme caution everywhere, that should also be the goal in Germany. This would initiate a return to normal, the pandemic would at least come to an end in the minds, although the virus continues to spread.

The Consequences of infection for those who have not yet been vaccinated, such as children, are rated as minor by many – not all – experts. So far too little is known about long-term consequences.

The situation is no longer like in spring 2020. We are no longer at the beginning of the pandemic when there was no protection at all.

And for adults: If everyone has a vaccination offer, everyone can assess the risk for themselves and act accordingly. The state does not need to offer anything more. Sure, there could then be more deaths again, the Long Covid cases could increase. According to scientists, the risk drops enormously if you get vaccinated.

If you decide against the vaccination, you run this risk: get sick, die. But it is an independent decision and consideration. The responsibility for this lies with the individual, not with society as a whole. It is doubtful that the intensive care units will be overloaded as a result: The situation is no longer like it was in spring 2020. We are no longer at the beginning of the pandemic when there was no protection whatsoever. Large parts of the groups in which the most deaths occurred are vaccinated.

Despite this changed situation, there is a lot of fear of the Stoked autumn. It is already being discussed about the return to alternating classes in schools, pressure on the stiko exercised and discussed further restrictions on fundamental rights. If one does not want to further devastate the cohesion in society, the government should create incentives and convince to drive up the vaccination rate instead of threatening part of the population.

Above all, however, she should ask herself whether the risk of taking more steps in the direction of the old normal is really greater than moving away from it.