EA grandmother is sitting in her retirement home in Berchtesgadener Land. It’s Christmas Eve. The keeper brings a leg of goose with red cabbage and cinnamon pudding. He puts a tablet computer next to dinner. After some fiddling, the faces of the grandchildren appear on the screen and sing “Silent Night”.
Editor in politics for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Editor in politics for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
This could happen if the number of infections increases and politicians are strict.
A grandfather sits with his family in Berlin-Wannsee on Christmas Eve. Everyone is happy to be together despite Corona. Grandfather wore his mask on the ICE from Wolfsburg and his son picked him up from the main train station. Two days ago the grandchildren were at a forbidden party in Neukölln, they are singing a song. After a week, the grandfather feels a scratchy throat. The corona rapid test is positive, the family doctor sends him to the hospital because he has had asthma for a long time. The man lies there, breathing oxygen, and dies three weeks later.
This could happen if the number of infections explode and politicians are mild at Christmas.
Choice between loneliness and illness
Germany is heading for a nasty dilemma on Christmas Eve. If the pandemic continues to escalate, the only choice is between loneliness and illness. Politicians want to avoid a second lockdown in large parts of the country. Shops, schools, kindergartens and hairdressers should be spared. They are not infection drivers, at least so far. The problem is the private contacts, the parties.
But Christmas is not just any party. This is where grandchildren meet their grandparents. On Christmas Eve of all times, the virus could spread from the young to the old. Thousands of deaths could be the result. Politicians face a choice between curtailing the festival or taking a fatal risk.
There are good reasons to prefer solitude to illness. Nobody wants people to die for an evening with candlelight and a roast. “As long as you don’t have a vaccine, you fight this virus by taking away its only food, namely human contacts,” says the head of the Bavarian State Chancellery, Florian Herrmann.
He knows how important Christmas is to many people, but he doesn’t want to make measures dependent on which holiday is on the calendar. “The virus is not based on the church year,” he says. This is what people talk about in Lower Saxony. “I’m getting more and more skeptical about what will and will not work at Christmas. We are concerned, “says the head of the crisis team there, Heiger Scholz. “Christmas could be a super-spreading event if we don’t manage to slow the pandemic beforehand.”
Ring the bell and ask
If the pace continues, there will be bans and with them an ugly debate about regulatory violations. “You can of course officially limit Christmas parties. But how are you going to control that? Ring the doorbell and ask how many people are there? You can only appeal, ”says the vice-chairwoman of the SPD parliamentary group Bärbel Bas. Not everyone is so liberal about it. The head of the Saarland State Chancellery, Henrik Eitel, says: “Of course it is difficult to check in private whether the citizens are sticking to the rules. We also don’t want the public order office to visit citizens’ homes across the board. But the security forces should take a closer look. “