While the Corona traffic lights are still constantly on red in many countries, the Czech Republic has got the hang of it. Yes, the new Czech pandemic scale also relies on colors, but not on three, but on five, because the red alert has long been exceeded anyway. A dog’s head also shows how great the risk of infection is. The abbreviated name of the new system is PES, Czech for dog. On the pages of the Ministry of Health, the whole country has been colored dark purple since Monday – and a guard dog bares its teeth threateningly. At first glance it is clear: the greatest danger.
Is the country going to the dogs? Oh no. The dog warning system is more of a pet therapy for a battered nation. Because the idea of Health Minister Jan Blatný, who has only recently been in office, combines the worst, namely Corona, with the very best. No people in Europe are as dog-mad as the Czech. And the love of dogs, as current studies show, has increased even further since the pandemic. Whether it should help against loneliness or provide a valid reason for a walk: the dog is the Czech’s dearest friend. 40 percent keep one, and of the other 60 percent, 59 percent are thinking about a purchase.
Closed schools, curfew, mask requirement
So this 2020 is definitely a dog year. Pediatrician Blatný, who was just now the head of the faculty at the University Hospital in Brno, is suddenly sitting at the bedside of a whole nation. And the fever doesn’t want to and doesn’t want to go down. His two predecessors left him with hardly any measures: the schools have been closed for weeks, exit and contact restrictions apply. Face masks must also be worn outdoors if the distance of two meters cannot be maintained. And the number of cases is still at a high level compared to Germany, in spite of the relaxation, and hospitals are reporting overload. The city of Ostrava crematorium was forced to build a new morgue.
How can one inspire hope in times like this? Maybe by changing the narrative. By preparing people to take small steps. Not from red to yellow. But from purple to red to orange to yellow. A fangible can only be slowly tamed into a floppy-ear dog. The daily number mass also replaces the new scale. Instead of the many key figures with which people are permanently overwhelmed in this pandemic – numbers of infected people, deaths, incidence values and R values - there is now only one single value between zero and one hundred that summarizes the previous individual parameters. Only recently there was a debate in the Czech Republic about the fact that the mass of data, which a layperson can hardly classify, only depresses people even more.
If you look closely, the Czech Republic is already at the lower purple border. Then comes red. The corresponding dog shows fewer teeth than the Fletsch monster. And that means: instead of two, six people can meet again, and the curfew begins two hours later. Small steps. Some hope. The dog becomes tamer and tamer – and at some point, when everything is going to be okay, he’ll pant you in a friendly manner on the green meadow.