Mr. Brysch, although the climax of the Corona crisis is not yet in sight, the discussion about an “exit strategy” has started. Some believe that measures to contain the virus can be eased soon if one isolates particularly vulnerable people, i.e. the old and the previously ill. What do you make of it?
The economic and social consequences of the Corona standstill are undoubtedly immense. But the prospect of a rapid start-up is currently completely irresponsible. Although it has been clear for months which people are at risk, practically nothing is happening to them. The shocking cases of Wurzburg and Wolfsburg make this clear. Almost 30 old people’s homes had died of the virus thereby Sunday evening. The pictures from France, Italy, and Spain must also be warned. Because what goes wrong in nursing can hardly save intensive care medicine. So far, however, the federal government, the federal states, and science have largely concentrated on hospitals. It is negligent.
What’s wrong with greatly increasing the number of intensive care beds and ventilators?
Of course, that is right and important. But the purely intensive medical perspective is not enough. So far, decision-makers in politics and science have dealt with nursing too little. An example: Based on the previous criteria of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), nurses for the elderly and those in need of care were almost never tested for the virus if they had flu symptoms. A lot of time has been lost as a result.
Could this mean that old people’s homes in Germany, like Spain, could develop into real corona powder drums?
The danger is there. This can now also be seen in a retirement home in Cologne, where people in need of care become infected. Therefore, those responsible must finally fulfill their duty of care. The RKI has now changed its criteria. For the Covid 19 tests, it no longer matters whether nurses were in a corona crisis area or had contact with an infected person. If flu symptoms now appear, the virus must be tested. An overdue decision. Because nurses and well-groomed people are at risk everywhere, because nursing without physical closeness is impossible.
Is that enough?
The tests are also of no use if the need for care, nursing staff and doctors continues to lack basic protection against infection. Disinfectants, mouth and nose protection, glasses and protective suits are hardly available. Even when it comes to everyday goods, many who are cared for at home rely on outside help. So if you talk about getting out now, you must first of all guarantee that care and help are guaranteed day after day. Everything else is irresponsible. At the moment I don’t see a convincing strategy to protect the risk group where it lives, whether at home or in the home.
How big is the risk group?
We’re talking about six million people, not just older people, by the way. The risk group includes lung and cancer patients, asthmatics, acute cardiac patients and the four million people in need of care. Three-quarters of those over the age of 75 alone suffer from several diseases. Those who want to start the exit soon must first put a comprehensive protective shield over these, particularly vulnerable people. In every city, we need teams of hospital doctors and resident doctors. A guaranteed supply of food, protective equipment, and care products must also be ensured. This requires professional logistics as well as voluntary help. Only when these conditions are met is it responsible to restart Germany in a controlled manner.