PANIC PAPER Translated
PANIC PAPER in ENGLISH (from German)
(except charts - which are in my drive link at the end)
this is the Panic Paper German lawyer Riener Fuellmich spoke of.
ill also include a link to the German copy
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How we get COVID-19 under control
- Location and strategy
The pandemic COVID-19 virus is the greatest challenge for politics, society and the economy in Germany and
Europe since the end of the Second World War. A look at the data from Asia and the reports from neighboring
European countries show that a Underestimating the magnitude of this challenge will lead to immense,
Most virologists, epidemiologists, doctors, economists and political scientists answer the question “what happens if
nothing is done” with a worst-case scenario of over a million deaths in 2020 - for Germany alone. A team of experts
from RKI, RWI, IW, SWP, University of Bonn / University of Nottingham Ningbo China, University of Lausanne and
University of Kassel confirmed these figures with an overall model developed for Germany.
The Avoiding this worst case is therefore a top strategic priority and according to the calculations and
recommendations of this team of experts, it is not only absolutely necessary, but also still possible.
What should I do?
- Communication: The worst case with all the consequences for the population in Germany is unTo be misleading, determined and made transparent.
- Unity: Avoiding the worst case is a key political and social
Define economic goal. Politics and citizens must act as a unit.
- Traceability: Citizens must understand that the following measures
must and can only be implemented for their benefit with their help.
a. Social contacts are to be reduced to a minimum for a certain period of time (social distancing) and
an end to these measures is of the comprehensible public effect of these measures to make
The effect of the action can be best by extending testing make it comprehensible for all citizens
in real time. Citizens with self-suspicion and the entire circle of contact persons of citizens who
tested positive should be tested consistently. Extensive testing mediates citizens affected by exit
restrictions active crisis action by the state. We have to switch from the method “we test to
confirm the situation” to the method “we test to get ahead of the situation” (South Korea proves
this impressively). A central recording of all tests carried out and those that will take place in the
future is essential. A
Determination of the national test capacity ( Capacity of tests, med. Personnel for
implementation, evaluation) and their greatest possible Increases are overdue. This allows a
shared observation of the spread and containment with all citizens. A step-by-step intervention in
economic and social processes that is appropriate to the situation is only possible in this way Increased
acceptance and usefulness of measures that restrict freedom.
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c. Even if the epidemic is successfully contained must have the capacity for necessary medical
care increase. The situation will be made worse by the fact that not only intensive medical care
for the seriously ill with ventilators, but also for those with moderate illnesses, an outpatient and
inpatient oxygen supply will be necessary (China proves this).
The Federal government needs a comprehensive mobilization campaign start. The current
crisis from COVID-19 is a hard blow to institutional trust. This has to be counteracted because the
government has to become a mobilizing factor. Motto: «Something very threatening is coming our
way, but we have recognized the danger and acted decisively and deliberately. We need all forces
in society to come together and work. Then we will still avert the danger ». In order to mobilize
societal perseverance, hiding the word case is not an option. If you want to avert danger, you
have to know it.
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- Model calculation for finding a strategy
The main reason why the great danger posed by COVID-19 was not seen until recently is the difficulty exponential
growth to understand intuitively. A Modeling aims to help understand the dynamics of COVID-19. To do this, we
have to include the
Speed of propagation and the mortality rate of the virus. Since the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan (PR China),
the mortality rate of the virus has been repeatedly downplayed with reference to a possible "dark figure".
Asymptomatic and mild cases were rarely tested and would therefore reduce the actual mortality rate even further if
these unknown cases were included. This and other arguments have long become one Underestimate of the danger posed by the virus. It was only the dramatic situation in Italy that led to a rethink in some
cases, although unfortunately all indicators suggest that the high point of new infections there is still a long way off.
If unsuccessful containment measures are taken, the situation is likely to worsen by more than a power of ten in
terms of the number of cases and deaths, even in the hardest hit regions.
Estimating the mortality rate can best be done with the data from South Korea. There were minimal exit restrictions,
especially through efficient testing and isolation,
successfully brought the various outbreaks under control. This would not have been possible if there were a significant
number of unreported cases. There was never a call for self-isolation for mild symptoms, which would not have done
much in the flu season and with a virus that has been contagious for a very long time. The systematic search for contact
also tested a large number of people who had no symptoms at all. Therefore, a very small number of unreported
cases can be expected in South Korea. The case mortality rates per age group can therefore be regarded as a good
reference, which can still be easily increased, since deaths are still reported regularly, although few new cases are
added. These figures are also coherent with the figures from China outside Hubei, which has been tested much more
intensively. For the distribution of the cases across the various age groups and the age pyramid in South Korea,
a mean case mortality rate of currently 1.1% is obtained. Adjusted to the age structure for Europe, a mean case
mortality rate of 1.8% is obtained with the best hospital care.
The data from South Korea should therefore be viewed as minimum values for the ultimate case mortality rate once
an outbreak has subsided and all infected are cured or dead. During the exponential expansion one can assume a
preliminary (English: naive) case mortality rate of around 1%. In a very moderate scenario, the RKI is currently
assuming a mortality rate of 0.56%. 1 In the further modeling, a case mortality of 1.2% is used.
We assume that 5% of the infected people hospitalized and of these, in turn, 30% require intensive medical care
and a further 20% require at least ventilation using appropriate equipment. The RKI assumes a hospitalization rate of
4.5%, of which 25% will require intensive care. 2 In addition, we assume that the length of stay in the intensive care
unit is ten days if patients are moved as quickly as possible in order to be able to use this extremely scarce resource for the next patient. We set nine days for ventilation on a ventilator and eight days for patients who require
hospitalization without such support. The Mortality rates are depending on the
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type of action differentiated. In relation to the total number of infected people, with good sickness it is
home supply in the model 1.2% and at rationing because of insufficient hospital care 2.0% - each based on the
population of all infected people.
In terms of hospital care capacities, we assume that there are currently 14,000 intensive care beds available for
people infected with COVID-19. Another 14,000 are available for patients with other diseases. However, these may
not be sufficient to adequately take care of emergencies (e.g. heart attacks, strokes, etc.). We also assume that
There are 18,000 ventilators for people infected with COVID-19 and almost 300,000 beds in hospitals and
rehabilitation clinics. We also assume that it will be possible to gradually increase these numbers over the next few
weeks - to 24,000 "free" intensive care beds, 28,000 ventilators and an additional 60,000 beds in hotels and exhibition
With regard to the Speed of propagation In Germany, the number of reported infected cases seems to be doubling
every three days. Initial measures to reduce physical contact, such as banning major events and minimizing travel,
should lead to the time lengthening until the number of infected people doubles. In the worst case scenario, we
assume that the doubling time will increase from three to six days by April 14th - and to nine days by the end of April.
Under these Worst case It is assumed that the number of infected people will increase rapidly and will soon make up
70% of the population. A massive overload of the health system can therefore be expected ( Illustration 1). Over
80% of intensive care patients would have to be turned away by the hospitals due to a lack of capacity. This takes
into account that additional intensive care beds and ventilators will be made available in the near future. The
rationing phase could last two months. In this scenario, more than a million deaths could be expected.
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- Economic and social consequences
The German economy is a high-performance machine that provides a high level of material prosperity and public
goods such as comprehensive health care and public safety that are accessible to all citizens year after year. Their
efficiency is based on a high degree of division of labor inside and outside the country. The prerequisite for this is
that the majority of all existing companies and employees are operational and the integrity of the overall system is
This is exactly what makes the economy as vulnerable as a high-performance engine, because only the
simultaneous functioning of all of its components ensures the functionality of the entire system. In normal operation,
moderate economic fluctuations can be effectively smoothed out over time, primarily through social security
systems. As long as the machine is running more or less at full speed, minor system malfunctions are not a serious
problem. Every working day more or less then translates into a slightly larger or smaller GDP in the final accounts.
This “normal world” has now been suspended, we are on uncharted territory.
If the measures proposed here to contain and control the Covid-19 epidemic do not work, the entire system could be
called into question in the sense of a "meltdown". There is a risk that this will change the community into a
completely different basic state, leading to anarchy. Accordingly, it would be naive to assume that a double-digit
percentage decline in GDP, roughly beyond 20%, would mean a linear extrapolation of the losses from the absence
of a few working days and would otherwise not call the entire system into question. For this reason, the strategy -
which dominates all other considerations - is the Containment with precautions to keep the economic consequences
as low as possible.
An essential prerequisite for this is that the strategy to contain and control Covid-19 is actually implemented
consistently. If one were to proceed too timidly, there would also be a threat of overloading the capacities of health
care as with an initially successful but then loosened strategy too early. The only viable option should therefore be to
implement a two-step strategy: It requires (i) the one that is implemented as quickly as possible, strict suppression
of new infections continues until the reproduction rate is near 1, and (ii) closes a comprehensive and consistent
system of individual testing and isolation of the identified cases at.
That would allow the rest of the economy to quickly return to almost normal operation and open the prospect that this
crisis will not be bigger than the economic and financial crisis in 2009. It would of course be best if this second stage
could be initiated immediately and so economic losses avoid. But that's not possible that Test capacities must first
built up will. As long as that has not happened, the only thing left is the “mallet” (“The Hammer”) of strong social
distancing, regardless of the exact state of infection of all those affected.
The time that is bought with this first stage must be rigorously linked to the development of the test strategy for the
second stage. From an economic point of view, it is important to provide households and companies with acute
support services during this time and to create the basis for the conditions for a restart of economic activities to be
in place when entering the second stage.
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The provision of extensive financial resources for the financial sector can only be part of setting the course for economic
policy. Because various factors make the current crisis (even with comparable rates of contraction) more serious than the
economic crisis of 2009. The crisis of that time originated in the financial sector and particularly affected industry. The
COVID-19 crisis is having a broader impact on economic life, is also affecting service providers and will therefore have a
stronger impact on the labor market. At the same time, the stabilization measures in 2009 could be concentrated on the
financial sector as a systemically important key element. Such a "quarantine" of a sector is impossible with COVID-19. Even
with comparable rates of contraction, the COVID-19 crisis will be broader, deeper and longer than the financial crisis.
Economic development scenarios
This conclusion can already be illustrated by means of rough rough calculations that ignore various adjustment
processes and complications. The estimates presented here are based on bottom-up national accounts-based
estimates of the significance of the crisis for the various economic sectors. Macroeconomic modeling is deliberately
not sought here, as its functionality is doubtful for the current situation in view of the considerable and, above all,
dynamic changes in numerous variables. The values determined for the development of GDP and value added in
industry are based on numerous assumptions and assumptions. Each is vulnerable in itself, but they are used to
determine an initial overall picture in different scenarios. The settlements are rather conservative,
The decisive factor is that the scenarios do not differ, or only differ indirectly, according to the spread of the virus infection in
Germany, but rather according to the politically enforced and medically necessary reactions to it. The duration of the
interruption of the normal division of labor and market processes (here national) is the decisive influencing factor.
Scenario 1: "Quick control"
The first scenario assumes that the spread of the epidemic can be slowed down after an initial period of exit
restrictions and that the number of cases will drop significantly within six weeks. This corresponds to a period until
the end of the Easter holidays and is therefore largely similar to the current status quo, possibly supplemented by the
implementation of assembly bans. A further restriction by exit restrictions is not assumed here. In view of the
economic consequences, but also the social inequality consequences of longer-term homeschooling, it is urgently
necessary to bring kindergartens and schools back to normal operations after the Easter break. In the further course
of the infection, intensive testing, tracking and isolation, if necessary Prohibition of major events or selective
interventions controlled. Social and economic life is largely returning to normal. This scenario corresponds to the
positive experiences from East Asia.
After the phase of exit restrictions of 1.5 months, major industrial sectors are expected to have another month of
massive disruptions due to closed borders and the associated interrupted supply chains. This assumes that the
pandemic has a comparable time profile, at least in Europe; The development in the USA gives rise to particular
uncertainties, but there is less wholesale dependency.
The phases of the slump are followed by two months with reduced disruption, during which economic activity
gradually returns to normal. Will be for another three months
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Catch-up effects are taken into account, which in each of these months compensate for a third of the economic management lost in
a crisis month.
This scenario results in a drop in GDP of 4 percent compared to the reference scenario and is to be seen as an
economic best case. For industry this means a minus of 9 percent. By way of comparison: During the global
economic crisis in 2009, GDP fell by 6 percent and the added value of industry by 19 percent. The state budget
would have to face additional expenditure and revenue shortfalls in the order of 80 billion euros. The developments
assumed here lead to a somewhat weaker decline in GDP than in 2009, but the service sector would be more
affected. The downside risks contained therein make it plausible, however, to assume a downward trend that is
broadly comparable to the global economic crisis.
Scenario 2: "Return of the crisis"
The second scenario assumes that with exit restrictions of two months it will be possible to massively contain the
spread of the infection. Afterwards, a largely normal economic life is possible. However, in the second half of the
year there will be a return of the epic
demie in no less dramatic dimensions. Such a development can also be expected for the following year.
Economic activity would be considerably reduced in the months of the exit restrictions and gradually return to normal
in the following two months. Due to the expected renewed outbreak of the disease, there are no catch-up effects.
Two months of exit restrictions and two of recovery are also assumed in autumn.
For the economy as a whole, this scenario means a decline of 11 percent, for industry a minus of 19 percent. In
industry, this is similar to the crisis of 2009; in the service sector, the decline is much more pronounced. However,
this scenario is much more critical than the crisis of 2009 because a double wave of infections would also be
expected in the coming year. The crisis would therefore last twice as long, which would not be comparable to 2009
and the subsequent boom in 2010.
Scenario 3: "long suffering"
The third scenario assumes that it will not be possible to contain the epidemic quickly. Exit restrictions of four months
are necessary, i.e. until the summer holidays in mid-July. Subsequently, no significant restrictions on economic life
are made. Accordingly, it is assumed that economic activity will be significantly subdued for four months and that it
will return to normal in another two months. In three more months there will be catch-up effects, but only to a lesser
extent due to the experience of the crisis and the high level of uncertainty.
For the economy as a whole, a decline of 9 percent is to be expected, for industry of 15 percent. This is likely to be
an optimistic assumption. This does not take into account possible self-reinforcing effects that occur with the long
duration of the crisis. If a systematic downward spiral develops, not just a slump to a lower level that will then be
stable for four months, deeper cuts are to be feared; this also applies to a further extension.
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Scenario 4: "Abyss"
The fourth scenario assumes an uncontrolled and uncontrollable development. The virus epidemic cannot be
contained. Exit restrictions are set for the rest of the year. This means a permanent reduction in economic activity to
a lower level. A further decrease in economic output is assumed after four months with exit restrictions.
In this situation, GDP would collapse by 32 percent and industry by 47 percent. In the event of further intensifying
second-round effects and the establishment of negative expectations, an accelerated downward trend could not be
ruled out. This scenario comes to mind economic collapse the same, the social and political consequences of which
are hard to imagine.
Despite all the uncertainties, the estimates show that under all circumstances scenario 1 (“quick control”) must be
worked towards. Scenario 4 (“abyss”) would be an unimaginable economic catastrophe that would lead to socially
unimaginable consequences. Presumably the treatment of the sick would be called into question rather than a
permanent shutdown of the country would be accepted. Scenario 3 (“long suffering”) threatens to become one with
an ever-increasing extension of the exit restrictions and to transform into scenario 4 (“abyss”). On this path it is never
clear whether it leads into the abyss - this will unleash negative dynamics that accelerate downward developments.
Scenario 1 ( "Quick control") gives the opportunity to come out of the crisis with an economic balance sheet that is
similar to the global economic crisis of 2009. This is bad enough, but it would be a glimmer of hope. It is crucial that,
on the one hand, the exponential spread of the virus can be stopped and the infection rate (R0) reduced to below 1
before Easter. On the other hand, it must be possible to prevent a return to uncontrolled waves of infection through
interventions that do not destroy economic and social life in Germany. To do this, the infection rate must be kept at a
maximum of about 1. For this purpose, extensive testing, the identification of contact persons via electronic
movement profiles, the isolation of sick people and suspected cases, if necessary. contribute to the prevention of
major events or access restrictions for facilities for the elderly. Permanent or even longer exit restrictions must,
however, be avoided.
Necessary economic policy measures
Phase I of the COVID-19 fight was initiated at the latest with the partial exit restrictions from March 16, 2020 with
school closings, mobility restrictions, business closings, office and production closings etc. and tightened by
assembly bans etc. In order to lower the incidence rate after the end of the exit restrictions (phase II) and then to
keep it at a stable level so that another uncontrolled outbreak can be prevented, extensive health policy measures
are necessary (see Section 4). These measures and the structures required for them must be implemented and built
up at short notice in order to be able to credibly enter phase II after the Easter holidays. A return to previous
economic and social life can only be guaranteed with the foreseeable end of the exit restrictions.
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In order to limit the economic damage beyond that, the following economic policy measures are necessary, some of
which have already been decided:
- It has already been decided to extend short-time work to limit unemployment, as in the 2009/10
financial crisis. This also reduces companies' solvency risks.
Liquidity support to ensure the short-term viability of the companies concerned via development banks
(loan assistance) and tax deferrals, as already decided.
Direct company transfers, limited in time for companies that are stuck in the supply shock and
demand shock at the same time and who, beyond the liquidity problems, have been hit economically
by the COVID-19 crisis.
Participation in companies through a sovereign wealth fund: The economic stabilization fund now being
planned should also provide for capital participation in large companies. State participation must be
given a clear perspective of an exit after the crisis. At the level of the federal states, responsibility for
small businesses lies solely because of their proximity and the administrative advantages. Tax relief to
limit massive losses caused by the economic crisis. There are opportunities here for a positive impetus
from the crisis, which can also be seen as the starting signal for a renewed upswing.
Stabilization of municipal finances, which will come under massive pressure due to additional
spending in the wake of the public stalemate and the expected collapse in trade tax. The federal states
must meet their responsibilities here. Economic measures after the end of the crisis, if demand-side
stimuli are necessary.
A particular economic and political challenge is likely to be that the exit from the crisis mode with a largely
standstill of public life challenges the various industries differently.
- If the restrictions on public life can be gradually lifted after Easter, the areas of consumption are likely
to be reactivated quickly. People want and can consume. In most cases, government aid would be
limited to bridging liquidity plus one-off transfers.
In many, especially company-related service areas, business activities could then also start again, e.g.
auditors, inspection, car service. In the case of postponable services such as construction work, the
expectation of sustainable stabilization is decisive.
The internationally active companies are limited in the crisis phase both by a lack of supplies,
especially from abroad, and by the unavailability of workers. The latter will relax when the schools and
daycare centers open again; for the former, a contribution can only be made through the availability of
transport capacities etc. at national level. The asymmetry with regard to the time profiles of the
economic crisis in other economies remains an ongoing burden for an internationally interlinked
economy like the German one. This is where companies are in demand for their flexibility to adapt.
However, this would also mean that internationally active companies would be able to rely on economic
policy support for a longer period of time (for example through equity investments).
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Against this background, the economic policy response to the current crisis cannot remain purely national. Likewise,
it is not enough to leave responsibility for the European dimension of the economic policy response to the European
Central Bank (ECB) alone. What is needed is a coordinated fiscal strategy at European level. These efforts must
include financial support for other EU countries that would otherwise be financially overburdened by containing the
crisis (especially Italy). In addition to the ECB's PEPP, other instruments must therefore be used, such as existing or
new credit lines from the European Stability Mechanism ESM or COVID-19 joint bonds.
- Conclusions for action and open communication
4 a. Clarify worst case!
We need to get away from communication that is centered on the case mortality rate. With a case mortality rate that
sounds insignificant in percentage terms and affects the elderly in particular, many people then, unconsciously and
unacknowledged, think to themselves: “Well, this is how we get rid of the elderly who are dragging our economy down, we
are already too many on earth, and with a bit of luck I will inherit a little earlier ». These mechanisms have certainly
contributed to downplaying the epidemic in the past.
In order to achieve the desired shock effect, the specific effects of an infection on human society must be made
- Many seriously ill people are hospitalized by their loved ones, but turned away, and die in agony at home
gasping for breath. Choking or not getting enough air is something for everyone Primal fear . The same
applies to the situation in which there is nothing you can do to help loved ones who are in mortal danger.
The images from Italy are disturbing.
"Children are unlikely to suffer from the epidemic": Wrong. Children will be infected easily, even with exit
restrictions, for example with the neighbors' children. When they infect their parents and one of them dies in
agony at home and they feel they are to blame for forgetting to wash their hands after playing, for example,
it is the most terrible thing a child will ever experience can.
Consequential damage: Even if we only have reports on individual cases so far, they paint an alarming
picture. Even those who seem cured after a mild course can apparently experience relapses at any time,
which then suddenly end fatally, due to a heart attack or lung failure because the virus has found its way into
the lungs or heart without being noticed. These may be isolated cases, but will constantly hover like the
sword of Damocles over those who were once infected. A much more common consequence is fatigue and
reduced lung capacity that lasts for months and probably years, as has been reported many times by SARS
survivors and is still the case with COVID-19, although the duration cannot of course be estimated yet.
In addition, historical arguments should also be made, according to the mathematical formula: 2019 = 1919 + 1929
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One only needs to illustrate the figures presented above with regard to the assumed mortality rate (more than 1%
with optimal health care, i.e. well over 3% due to overload in case of contamination), compared to 2% with the
Spanish flu, and with regard to the economic crisis to be expected if containment fails, this formula will make sense
4 b. Output “worst case avoidance” as a strategic goal for Germany and the EU
It should be clear to everyone that individual countries in the EU can hardly be successful alone in the fight against
the virus. The economic and human exchange is far too close. Political shock waves know no borders. A meltdown
in a single EU Member State would have widespread effects. That is why the EU needs an active role here more
than ever. Germany
can play a pioneering role not only politically, but also organizationally and industrially.
to take , both in containing the epidemic (production / procurement of test kits and PCR machines, development of
mobile test stations) and in measures to mobilize the
society to cushion the social and political consequences.
4 c. Communicate action planning to the population
4 c 1 test capacity high
By far the most important measure against a virus like SARS-CoV-2 is to test and isolate the infected person. Both
people who suspect themselves and the entire circle of contact persons of people who tested positive should be
tested. If the test capacity is insufficient, testing can be limited to patients with severe pneumonia and post mortem
in all suspected cases in order to at least determine the number of deaths precisely. Any omission of testing,
however, is sure to result in rapid exponential spread of the virus.
The test capacity to be aimed for (here assuming simultaneous strict exit restrictions over several weeks) can be
determined using rules of thumb (provisional findings must be refined). In the exponential phase, one can assume a
preliminary (naive) case mortality rate (deaths divided by confirmed cases) of 1% in European countries if the
majority of all cases are found by testing. If the case mortality is below this value, it must be assumed that the
number of deaths is not counting correctly. If the case mortality is higher, deaths * 100, we'd have to find that many
cases. To find them, under very good conditions, you need 20 * more tests than the number of cases you want to
find. Sample calculation Germany at the end of March: we estimate the actual number of deaths is 500-1000 (heavily
underreported). That means 50,000 to 100,000 cases would have to be found. If you want to find a large part of it,
you need 100,000 to, for example
200,000 tests per day over the course of 10 days, or half of them over 20 days (which increases the period of exit
restrictions and increases the risk of failure).
As soon as the estimated necessary testing capacity is reached, the number of newly found cases per day will initially
skyrocket. If the estimate was correct, it comes down again after the period of time (e.g. after 10 days). If not, the
necessary test capacity was underestimated and urgently needs to be increased in order to achieve the desired result.
Testing requires innovative solutions in order to make both the evaluation in the laboratory and the collection of throat
swabs less time-consuming. The protection of those in contact with potentially infected people is extremely important. This
was done in South Korea with drive-in and telephone
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cell test stations where the throat swabs are carried out by the person to be tested, without direct contact with the
test staff. In order to send a positive signal to the population and to solve the problem of access to the test stations,
especially for people without their own car, mobile test stations in the form of delivery vans could also be developed.
Overpressure inside the car (through an air filter or provisionally through compressed air bottles) prevents viruses
from entering. The throat swabs are bagged, sealed, disinfected with alcohol and stored in a laboratory chapel, all
actions being carried out through rubber gloves. In this way, approaching the population can also be signaled and
presence in all neighborhoods can be marked.
The massive testing must be supported by an efficient search for contact by people who have tested positive, some
of which can be done by hand according to the method that the RKI already suggests ("Who were you in contact
with five days before the symptoms began?"). In order to make testing faster and more efficient, the use of B ig data and
L ocation tracking
Anyone who tests positive must be isolated, be it at home or in a quarantine facility; this has to be clarified in more
detail. Even single quarantine at home (without roommates) can easily lead to further infections in the same
apartment block if handled improperly.
As soon as these measures have been implemented, they can immediately contain the small outbreaks that are likely to
flare up again and again relatively inexpensively over several years.
4 c 2 lower social contacts
To support massive testing and especially with relatively large numbers of cases (more than a few dozen per day) or
if the test capacity cannot be ramped up quickly enough, measures for "social distancing" are required: working from
home, prohibiting mass events in sports and culture, Closure of schools and universities, closure of even small social
events such as sports clubs, closure of restaurants and bars, closure of all non-essential shops, right up to the
closure of all non-essential businesses.
Everyone can assess the effects of each measure themselves: the aim is to reduce the possibility of infection. If
there are football games with 50,000 participants in a big city from time to time, but millions meet each other on
public transport every day, the closing of football games is hardly more than symbolic, especially with a virus that is
hardly contagious beyond a distance of 2 meters .
In the current phase of the epidemic, we can (hopefully) assume that the test capacity can be ramped up very
quickly. On this basis, it is better to have a very sharp but short period of exit constraints, just until the testing and
isolation measures take effect. A longer period of exit restrictions cannot be maintained economically or socially.
A likely plausible but optimistic schedule for Germany in the next few weeks could look like this: consisting of a
combination of testing and isolation with accompanying strict but short exit restrictions. The reproduction factor at
generation = 4 indicates how fast the virus is spreading: R = 2.2: unrestrained exponential spreading (* 2.2. Every
four days); R = 1: linear expansion. R <1: epidemic decline.
First cautious estimate of the course of the containment strategy against Covid-19
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Before March 16
From March 16
From March 23rd
From April 6th
From April 13th
From April 20th
R = 2.2
R = 1.6
R = 1.2
R = 0.8
R = 0.5
R = 0.8
only very loose preventive measures School
closings, social distancing
Comprehensive and stricter exit restrictions Test capacity
massively increased to 50,000 per day Test capacity to
100,000 per day
Gradual relaxation of exit restrictions; Resumption of school
operations as soon as this is possible without the epidemic flaring
up again Test capacity to 200,000 per day, efficient and
well-established contact search by hand and through big data
(location tracking, etc.)
- The information on R in this table are estimated values based on observational data from all countries for which
reliable data are available, as well as from specialist publications. When modeling the course of the epidemic, these
values are input parameters. Simulations cannot determine the value R and its change during the epidemic more
precisely; they always remain initial assumptions.
With regard to the number of new cases found every day, we expect that it will only decrease from April 13th or maybe even
from April 20th (apparently inflection point), since we have a large backlog of cases that have not yet been found, which is
only slowly when the test capacity is increased needs to be worked up. We expect the actual inflection point of the infections
on April 6th.
From April 27th R = 0.5
4 c 3 beds and increase oxygen capacity
Even if the epidemic is successfully contained, the existing capacity for the necessary hospital care can easily be
overwhelmed. Efforts should not concentrate on the abstract concept of "beds in the intensive care unit", but rather
on the specific infrastructure required, in particular on the oxygen supply and the number of ventilators as well as the
corresponding staffing. The peak of the corresponding need is only reached about three weeks after the peak of new
infections has been reached.
4 c 4 Jointly distanced: Social sponsorship of Covid-19 containment through Germany-wide and
transparent information and mobilization campaign
The current crisis caused by COVID-19 has the potential to permanently shake trust in democratic institutions in
Germany. This can and must be counteracted. This works best when the state - federal, state and local authorities -
acts proactively and in a coordinated manner and thus becomes active and visible not as a “paralyzing” but rather as
a mobilizing factor. The most important communication message from state actors: the virus is a risk for everyone. It
will change our lives in the short, medium and long term. We have recognized the risk, work together on all levels,
orientate ourselves on the scientific and practical evidence and act decisively but not in a panic. Only with the
coming together and the action of all forces in society can we slow down the number of new infections and ultimately
contain the virus. The state needs the help of all citizens, only then can we contain the virus as quickly as possible
and guarantee democratic coexistence (both politically, socially and economically).
This requires comprehensive and coordinated information from all government authorities
enlightenment as well as concrete instructions. We have to assume that a considerable part of the population who is
informed by media reports and social media suspects
VS-ONLY FOR SERVICE USE
that at the moment the number of cases and the number of deaths are far underestimated. The message that the
test capacity is now being massively increased will probably be received with relief. The announcement that this
could lead to a sharp rise in the number of cases and deaths in the short term is also likely to be expected. It is
important to clarify and communicate aggressively right from the start, that successful measures will only have
an impact on the number of new infections found and the number of deaths with a considerable delay.
In addition to comprehensive information and clarification by the state authorities, the state is particularly dependent
on civil society solidarity. This "Together" must be considered and communicated with. This requires a common
narrative (#wirbleibenzuhause, or «distanced together» - «physical distance - social solidarity») and, ideally, many
faces (celebrities, politicians, scientists) who identify with the campaign.
The mobilization campaign for (even) stronger civil society solidarity is aimed at two different communities: the physical
neighborhood community and to the Online community. The neighborhood community is mobilized to help with
the care of people in home quarantine and to shield risk groups. Here it is important to include the large number of
civil society institutions, for example the church associations, as well as political foundations (local offices) and
associations (e.g. sports clubs, shooting clubs, neighborhood helpers, etc.). Direct contact with this community can
be established through mobile test stations, so that the community is in constant contact with the local health
authorities responsible for containing the epidemic practically on their doorstep. At the same time, support offers can
be created for them (apps for communication, coordination). We should already thank these helpers politically and
ask them to step up their activities and at the same time praise them for their own initiative. However, networking
and coordination are important so that assistance can be efficiently coordinated.
The online community also has a very important role to play. Without mobilization and solidarity, it increases the
spread of misinformation and can lead to radicalization. However, part of the community can safely be involved in
cushioning the social impact of exit restrictions, protecting high-risk groups, and quarantine. There are already
important offers in this regard, these should and must be expanded (medical care, psychological offers or simply
shared leisure activities online). Here, too, civil society institutions can help (see above) as well as celebrities (e.g.
We Kick Corona initiative by Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, #wirbleibenzuhause). A call to the joint «fact
check »Of information and more Hackathons to cope with the challenges using digital approaches. Here, too, it is
important to foster a feeling of “mutual distance”.
Older people can also find their way around with smartphones and social media relatively easily, but often need
technical help and, above all, personal advice on how to successfully navigate the various platforms. In order to
counter a generation conflict (millennials infect older people), children, adolescents and young adults could and
should be actively involved in the education and information campaign.
Only with social cohesion and a mutual distance from one another can this crisis not only be overcome with little
damage, but also be future-oriented for a new relationship between society and the state.
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