Corona model projects are on brink of collapse

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Thu 22nd Apr, 2021

The university cities of Tübingen and Rostock have made many headlines in recent months because of their low Corona numbers. In talk shows, the mayors Boris Palmer (Green Party) and Claus Ruhe Madsen (independent) almost joined hands. Both proudly reported about relaxations of the Corona restrictions.

But in the meantime, the third Corona wave, driven among other things by the particularly contagious virus variant B.1.1.7, has also reached them. In both cities, the seven-day incidences rose to over 100 in the meantime.

Tübingen has been causing quite a stir since mid-March with its Corona model project, which has now been extended twice. There, people can have themselves tested free of charge at several stations; if the results are negative, they are given day tickets that they can use to go to stores, to the hairdresser, and also to theaters and museums. Due to large crowds from outside, the tests were limited to people from the Tübingen district.

A condition for continuation of the Tübingen project was that the seven-day incidence locally remain stable - and not exceed 100 on three consecutive days, i.e., no more than 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants are registered within one week. "At the latest, however, when the new federal Infection Protection Act is officially in force, we will probably have to interrupt the project," said a spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs in Stuttgart.

Palmer: Model project a complete success
But even if the project had to be discontinued as a result of the federal law, it is "a complete success," according to Palmer. One has been able to gain "valuable experience in coping with the Corona pandemic through close-meshed testing," the mayor explained. "I am convinced that these lessons will be extremely helpful in the weeks and months ahead."

Since March 18, the incidence in Tübingen has been above 100 on only two days, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs. Most recently (April 19), the value was 91.8.

In the Hanseatic city of Rostock, the development was significantly worse: On March 21, the seven-day incidence had still been at 22, then on April 15, it was already at just under 133. Now it is again below 100. For Emil Reisinger, infectiologist at the Rostock University Hospital, private contacts are mainly responsible for the strong increase. "People have lulled themselves into too much security after the long period with few infections."

Mayor Madsen, who among other things enabled a Hansa Rostock game in front of spectators and shopping involving the Luca app, wants to prevent a complete lockdown. Much has been learned since the first lockdown in spring 2020, he said. "In contact tracing and contagion sources, we have gained significantly more knowledge." A 2021 lockdown would need to incorporate that knowledge, he said.

Madsen incorporates Reisinger's findings, saying, "We need to offer people something to do outside the home. Outdoor sports and recreational activities, individual sports, alone, as a couple or in your own home. Parks, outdoor areas of zoos and playgrounds are important places here that work with clear hygiene concepts."

It is clear that Rostock has also not been able to avoid the state-wide daycare and school closures. But they should only apply as long as they are absolutely necessary. "Children need children and children have a right to education," is Dane's maxim. The closures would have to be accompanied by a clear perspective. "There needs to be a regular review that also includes developments at the federal level."


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