The interim respite in new Corona infections is over. Last week, the Corona figures stagnated, but they are likely to rise again soon as the weather gets colder. And unlike in July and August, it is no longer the consequences of summer vacations and primarily children and adolescents whose compulsory tests at the start of school are driving up the number of reports. Older people are already increasingly affected.
And so Germany's hospitals are not threatened this fall by a pandemic of the young, but by the next pandemic of the old. The proportion of over-60s in all inpatient admissions is rising sharply.
In all waves, children were strongly affected by restrictions
What does this have to do with children, young adults, schools, and colleges? In all previous Corona waves, apart from nursing homes and their residents, they have been the most affected by restraints. And although it is precisely in the case of children that politicians have vowed to treat them differently in the future: Before the big fall and winter waves of 2020, the promises were almost word for word.
Even then - before sufficient vaccine was available - it was unjustifiable to close schools but keep offices open, to require children and adolescents to take rapid tests two or three times a week, but to allow adults to work without compulsory tests.
The elderly are given the impression that the pandemic is over
After months of vaccine overkill, it certainly isn't. There are second-graders who have only experienced a few months of regular classes and are now allowed to learn without a mask for the first time in their seat. There are students who are entering their fourth semester and hope to finally get to know their university from the inside. With 2G bands around their wrists or vaccination stickers on their student ID cards.
The fact that 14 percent of the over-60s have not been vaccinated at all, while the figure for students is ten percent or less, depending on location, can only be explained by their unequal treatment in the pandemic so far: If the numbers go up, it is mainly the young who are restricted, even though it is the old who bear the much higher risk. But they are given the impression in their everyday lives that the pandemic is as good as over, so no more restraint is necessary.
There are two ways to end this imbalance. Catchword Freedom Day: Everyone had the chance to get vaccinated. So we lift all restrictions, let the numbers go up, and if the unvaccinated get caught - it's their own fault.
But that would be ethically questionable - and too short-sighted. Because if the unvaccinated overcrowded the intensive care units, there will be no room left for vaccinated people who can be treated for other reasons. There are also people who cannot get vaccinated for health reasons. And for those under 12, vaccine approval is still completely pending.
The second alternative is: the state must finally take its responsibility seriously and enforce mandatory vaccination for all adults. Yes, this is an encroachment on fundamental rights. But it would be intolerable if politicians were to shy away from this, but not from the renewed sensitive violation of the fundamental right to education and participation. And the same would apply to further restrictions in schools and universities. Not to mention the suffering and death of vaccinated old people.
In terms of intergenerational justice, something has gone off the rails in the pandemic - or it was already off the rails, and has just become really visible. To the disadvantage of the very young and the very old. Generational justice does not only include keeping educational institutions in operation, regardless of incidence. But also, if soon the vaccine permission for 5 to 11-year olds is there, to let the Stiko come without pressure to an estimate.
And if it should then not give a general vaccination recommendation for children, because these hardly fall seriously ill and rarely have consequential symptoms, then this is to be accepted as a vote of science and in the interest of the children. The fact that the young generation should take the rap because politicians go easy on the elderly: that must stop now.