No zero with Spahn (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Permanent emergency: The death of hospitals continues – referendum against profit-making

After ten months of fighting the corona virus, the federal government is far from following a clear strategy. The number of new infections registered is still high, more than 50,000 deaths were reported by the end of the week, and clinic employees are working at the limit. At a press conference on Friday, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) once again only gave the general place for the best: The numbers have to go down. But the big unknown is which goal he wants to achieve and how. Spahn simply said: “We have to find a way”. He left open where this path should lead. Certainly, he only showed that in the end, the number of infections will not be zero. For Germany, the approach advocated by the Zero Covid initiative is not suitable, he claimed. Because the country is in the middle of the continent, zero infected will not be a target.

One should at least aim for zero, said the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten in an interview Mirror online. That is not only absolutely worth striving for; there is also “the unique opportunity” to prevent the British virus mutation from spreading in this way. If the number of infections does not fall significantly enough, it could have serious consequences in spring and summer – overcrowded intensive care units and many deaths among the younger ones who have not yet been vaccinated.

Despite the pandemic, the death of hospitals continues, but Spahn’s ministry is ignorant. Andrej Hunko (Die Linke) asked at a meeting of the Bundestag’s health committee how many clinics were closed in the pandemic year 2020. The answer he received was: The federal government had no knowledge of the closure of clinics; in addition, the federal states are responsible for maintaining capacities. It is unbelievable that the Federal Ministry of Health does not want to be informed about clinic closings. In the past year there have been numerous press reports about the closure of hospitals. One example is the »Schön Klinik Nürnberg Fürth«. Twenty hospitals are said to have been closed in 2020, the “Alliance Hospital Rescue” announced at the end of December.

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“It is a political scandal that hospitals are being closed in the midst of a pandemic,” Hunko said jW-Inquiry. Actually, health protection should come first, but the denial of clinic closings shows the opposite: “In the background, the restructuring of the health system according to market-economy criteria continues.” The federal government shows with its policies that it puts profit above need.

Nothing will change for the time being. In Berlin, the state constitutional court has now stopped the continuation of a referendum without an oral hearing, with which the personnel shortage in the hospitals should be remedied. The decision is “a slap in the face for everyone who has been working at the limit in the last few months,” said Silvia Habekost, nurse and co-initiator of the referendum. She is outraged that the court takes the view that the federal government has finally regulated the personnel standards in nursing. The pandemic showed how understaffed work was done in the hospital.