‘More than half’ of Germans lose trust in government’s handling of pandemic

For the first time in the coronavirus pandemic, more than half of Germans hold a negative view of the government’s management of the crisis, according to a new survey.

'More than half' of Germans lose trust in government's handling of pandemic
A face mask lying on the ground in Duisberg on Wednesday evening. Photo: DPA

Just over half of those surveyed (54 percent) in an ongoing study felt that German politicians are overwhelmed by their duties, and hence not carrying them out as effectively.

This marks the highest percentage in the pandemic.  

In the summer, the figure stood at 40 percent, whereas it was 46 percent during the first partial lockdown in April 2020. 

The survey “The Fears of the Germans” has been regularly commissioned by Wiesbaden-based R+V Insurance for almost 30 years and is considered to give an overview of how people feel about politics, the economy, family and health. 

Most recently, on January 25th and 26th, around 1,000 adults between the ages of 16 and 75 were surveyed by opinion researchers.

For Manfred Schmidt, political scientist at the University of Heidelberg, the survey results show declining confidence in politics. 

Schmidt sees Germany’s continually extended shutdown, in effect since November 2nd, and the ongoing vaccine debate as likely causes. 

READ ALSO: 'Miracles are not going to happen': Row breaks out over Germany's slow Covid-19 vaccine rollout

It was a fundamental mistake, he said, to shift vaccine procurement to the EU level when national strategies focusing just on Germany would have worked better. 

Schmidt said that what was missing at the political level was the clear admission of mistakes from which lessons could be learned.

READ ALSO: Can Germany get on board with a 'no Covid' strategy?


sensitivities – (die) Befindlichkeiten 

weakening – nachlassend

procurement/acquisition – (die) Beschaffung 

admit/acknowledge – eingestehen 

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Could there be a new wave of Covid-19 in Germany this autumn?

It’s back again: amid sinking temperatures, the incidence of Covid-19 has been slowly rising in Germany. But is this enough to merit worrying about the virus?

Could there be a new wave of Covid-19 in Germany this autumn?

More people donning face masks in supermarkets, friends cancelling plans last minute due to getting sick with Covid-19. We might have seen some of those familiar reminders recently that the coronavirus is still around, but could there really be a resurgence of the virus like we experienced during the pandemic years?

According to virologists, the answer seems to be ‘maybe’: since July, the number of people newly infected with Covid-19 has been slowly rising from a very low level.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), nine people per 100,000 inhabitants became newly infected in Germany last week. A year ago, there were only around 270 reported cases.

Various Corona variants are currently on the loose in the country. According to the RKI,  the EG.5 (also called Eris) and XBB.1.16 lines were each detected in the week ending September 3rd with a share of just under 23 percent. 

The highly mutated variant BA.2.86 (Pirola), which is currently under observation by the World Health Organisation (WHO), also arrived in the country this week, according to RKI. 

High number of unreported case

The RKI epidemiologists also warned about a high number of unreported cases since hardly any testing is done. They pointed out that almost half of all registered sewage treatment plants report an increasing viral load in wastewater tests.

The number of hospital admissions has also increased slightly, but are still a far cry from the occupation rate amid the pandemic. Last week it was two per 100,000 inhabitants. In the intensive care units, only 1.2 percent of all beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.

Still, a good three-quarters (76.4 percent) of people in Germany have been vaccinated at least twice and thus have basic immunity, reported RKI. 

Since Monday, doctors’ offices have been vaccinating with the adapted vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer, available to anyone over 12 years old, with a vaccine for small children set to be released the following week and one for those between 5 and 11 to come out October 2nd.

But Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has so far only recommended that people over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions get vaccinated.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who should get a Covid jab this autumn in Germany?

“The pandemic is over, the virus remains,” he said. “We cannot predict the course of coming waves of corona, but it is clear that older people and people with pre-existing conditions remain at higher risk of becoming severely ill from Covid-19”

The RKI also recommended that people with a cold voluntarily wear a mask. Anyone exhibiting cough, cold, sore throat or other symptoms of a respiratory illness should voluntarily stay at home for three to five days and take regular corona self-tests. 

However, further measures such as contact restrictions are not necessary, he said.

One of many diseases

As of this autumn, Covid-19 could be one of many respiratory diseases. As with influenza, there are no longer absolute infection figures for coronavirus.

Saarbrücken pharmacist Thorsten Lehr told German broadcaster ZDF that self-protection through vaccinations, wearing a mask and getting tested when symptoms appear are prerequisites for surviving the Covid autumn well. 

Only a new, more aggressive mutation could completely turn the game around, he added.

On April 7th of this year, Germany removed the last of its over two-year long coronavirus restrictions, including mask-wearing in some public places.

READ ALSO: German doctors recommend Covid-19 self-tests amid new variant