Almost two-thirds of Germans ‘unsatisfied’ with government’s Covid-19 management

One year after the first measures were put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus, almost two-thirds of Germans are dissatisfied with Germany’s crisis management.

Almost two-thirds of Germans 'unsatisfied' with government's Covid-19 management
The empty centre of a shopping street in the Thuringian district of Greiz, which current has Germany's highest Covid-19 7-day incidence of 573.9. Photo: DPA/Bodo Schackow

In a survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of DPA, 34 percent were “very dissatisfied” and another 31 percent “rather dissatisfied” with the government’s handling of the crisis. 

By contrast, only four percent are “very satisfied” and 26 percent “rather satisfied”. Another five percent did not give any response. 

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), on the heels of a controversy over his ministry’s involvement in a face mask procurement deal, received even worse marks than the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) overall. 

READ ALSO: German health minister in spotlight over mask contract with husband’s firm

Only 24 percent of respondents are satisfied with his work, whereas another 69 percent are dissatisfied.

The German government had decided on the first restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March 2020. In a memorable televised speech at the time, Merkel called on the population to stand together to fight against the spread of the virus.

The acceptance of restrictions such as the closure of shops, restaurants and schools was still very high during the first coronavirus wave. 

In a YouGov poll in April 2020, 67 percent were somewhat or very satisfied with the government’s crisis management.

At the beginning of the second wave in October, the figure was only 57 percent, then only 50 at the beginning of February and only 48 percent in the last poll at the end of February. In the past three weeks, the acceptance of the government’s measures has once again deteriorated significantly. 

Now only 30 percent of respondents rate the government’s crisis management as rather or very positive.

READ ALSO: Is Merkel’s legacy in danger as Germany grapples with slow Covid-19 vaccine roll-out?

Dissatisfaction now predominates among voters of all parties represented in the Bundestag. It is particularly strong among supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (86 percent), the Left (76 percent) and the Free Democrats (73 percent).

They are followed by voters of the Social Democrats (63 percent), the Greens (62 percent) and Merkel’s Christian Democrats and Bavarian sister-party CSU (51 percent).

The data used was based on an online survey conducted by YouGov Deutschland GmbH, in which 2,059 people participated between March 16th and 18th. The results were weighted and are representative of the German population aged 18 and over.


by contrast – dagegen

memorable/noteworthy – denkwürdig

worsen/deteriorate – verschlechtern 

to be based on something – auf (etwas) beruhen

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

Member comments

  1. The government certainly only seems to have a hammer, as they only have one way to deal with the crisis. The delay of innovative solutions and functional expansion of contract tracing to this late in the game is already a losing proposition.

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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