The German Länder remove the obligation to wear a mask in class. Pediatricians in favor, virologists against: “Premature decision”

The German Länder remove the obligation to wear a mask in class. Pediatricians in favor, virologists against: “Premature decision”
The German Länder remove the obligation to wear a mask in class. Pediatricians in favor, virologists against: “Premature decision”

Quattro Countries tedeschi – Bremen, Thuringia, Saxony Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – have already decided to remove the obligation of masks in the classroom. From this week the Bavaria, Saarland e Berlin, but the hypothesis was considered for the future as well North-Rhine Westphalia e Baden Wuerttemberg. Students from Munich, Berlin and Saarbrücken, from Monday 4 October will be required to wear the mask only when moving around the school buildings, but not once they have reached their seats in the classroom.

For most German doctors this is a fully justified measure: Dr. Thomas Fischbach, president of the association of specialists in pediatrics, he told the German ZdF to believe “inadequate an extension of the duty to wear masks for students “and that” society cannot expect them to continue to take precautions for those who they refuse to be vaccinated“. Among children, Covid has a lighter course, the hospitalizations in the range between 5 and 14 they are just that 0.48% of the total. For this reason, the supporters say, it is not possible to force the boys to wear a mask in the classroom if you have older brothers it is allowed not to do so by being in much closer contact in the disco. Also the president of the Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, in a television interview with the second German channel, greeted with extreme favor the measure, given that adults al ristorante, cinema and also al work, once in place is already allowed take off the mask.

The hitherto prudent Bavaria has decided to move towards normality, on the other hand, in the light of its reliance on tampons. The Minister of Health of Bavaria Klaus Holetschek (Csu) remarked to the microphones of public TV that the students are systematically tested and surveys will be further intensified, as well as systems of ventilation and air cleaning.

For many virology, however, the action is taken too soon. The fourth wave has just begun and with the winter it will have a surge: an increase has already been registered starting from the return to school. The teacher Melanie Brinkmann dell’Helmholtz Center for Infection Research from Braunschweig had even clearer words in a statement taken up by the German media: “From the high number of not vaccinated, and among these children count above all, I believe this premature decision and quite frankly too silly“. If we consider the entire German population, ie without distinction of age, only the 64,6% in Germany he is already fully vaccinated, but between 12-16enni it is just about one third. Consequently, in this age group there is also the greatest number of new infections, the so-called weekly incidence is the highest with an index of 152.5 almost. In comparison, among the over 80s it is equal to 27,1. Even the virologist Martin Stürmann of the university clinic of Frankfurt, who was himself positive at Covid, he told ZdF: “I’m afraid there will now be in schools explosions of infections by giving up masks during lessons, precisely because we cannot guarantee one yet active defense to children under twelve years with a vaccination “.

But not all of them are like that pessimists. For the director of the Mainz university medical virology institute, Bodo Plachter – quoted by ZdF – “children, especially the younger ones, have very low chances of a severe course or of long-lasting consequences and the data did not change even with the Delta variant“, (The one that emerged in India from October 2020). An explanation must be traced back to the fact that in the body of children there are fewer receptors of the ACE-2 type to which viral cells can attach.

However, skepticism was also expressed by the president of the teachers’ association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, who warned: “It is the wrong time, virologists warn of a fourth wave that will strengthen and to dispose now of the waiver of the obligation to wear the mask is premature ”. For teachers it does not have yet full consciousness of those that will be the aftermath of the long covid in this generation. Although the cases of pediatric multi-systemic inflammation syndrome (PIMS) that can occur after weeks in association with a Sars-CoV2 infection are rare, and among adolescents throughout Germany in August they were recorded only just over 400, it is not excluded that – at least as adults – even children can suffer of the so-called long covid and have long-term discomfort by contracting the virus due to the decrease in restrictions.

The president of the association of educational institutions of the Bavarian capital, Florian Huber, however, is convinced by the decision to remove the obligation of the mask in the classroom. In an interview released by the news Today’s Journal he underlined how for the students in the first grade the meeting of teachers with half-covered faces is very difficult. Getting to know each other and gaining trust for the teachers themselves is much more tiring – Huber argued – and for example when learning a foreign language and you have to pay attention to the pronunciation. Many students are happy not to have to follow the lessons with the mask anymore, especially among maturanti, as many are vaccinated. But others have no illusions, the Bavarian ministry has already stated that the obligation could be reintroduced everytime if it proves necessary.

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