June 25, 2024

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Secret minutes of RKI meetings during the covid pandemic have been published – about lockdowns, vaccinations and masks

After the publication of previously secret protocols from the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI), debates about all kinds of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus flared up with renewed vigor.

How tells dw, subordinate to the German Ministry of Health During the coronavirus pandemic, the RKI was the government agency whose employees monitored the spread of SARS-CoV-2, assessed risks, kept records of new infections and made recommendations on preventive measures. Many supporters of all kinds of conspiracy theories then suspected the institute of serving certain dark forces intent on enslaving all of humanity.

And now new food for such speculation has been given by the publication of previously secret minutes of RKI meetings, which the online magazine Multipolar obtained through the court. It is published by a certain Paul Schreier, who in the past distinguished himself with conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks. At the same time, publication with banknotes, from the point of view of Multipolar, only confirms the fact that RKI was an instrument in the hands of certain political forces.

The minutes of the meeting dated March 16, 2020 refer to the need to increase the level of the epidemiological threat this week: “The risk assessment will be published as soon as XXX gives a signal about this.” The increase in risk from “moderate” to “high” published the next day was one of the grounds for introducing the first lockdown in the country six days later, on March 22, 2020, which significantly limited the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens.

For conspiracy theorists, everything is clear: hidden under the black paint of XXX is the name of the person who decides what to do with the population of the country. Who could it be? The then Minister of Health, Jens Spahn? Or former Chancellor Angela Merkel herself?

On March 25, at a government press conference, the representative of the German Ministry of Health, Sabine Grüneberg, recalled that five days before the lockdown, on March 17, 2020, when the RKI raised the threat level to high, the World Health Organization declared the rapid spread of the virus a pandemic, the United States closed its borders, Germany's neighbors EU A state of emergency was declared, and 4,500 people died from Covid in Bergamo. As for the person under the XXX banknote, this is one of the institute’s employees, whose anonymity is explained by the need to protect personal data. And there is absolutely nothing unusual about this.

Current Health Minister Karl Lauterbach called the RKI's work during the early stages of the pandemic “excellent” and recalled that compared to other countries with a similar population structure, significantly fewer people died in Germany.

Conspiracy theories are also not confirmed by the RKI protocols that deal with the approval for use of certain vaccines against Covid. This topic became the focus of the Robert Koch Institute at the end of 2020. On December 21, the vaccine received access to the EU BioNTech/Pfizera little bit later – Moderna. At a meeting of the crisis headquarters at the RKI on January 8, 2021, the drug was discussed AstraZeneca, standing next in line for admission. The minutes of the meeting indicate that “this drug is less ideal”, that its use “requires discussion” and that there may be limitations on its use “due to the very limited amount of data on older people.”

However, at the beginning of March, the permanent vaccination committee of the RKI Stiko recommended the AstraZeneca drug for use in all age groups. That is, the decision was made despite one’s own doubts? Actually this is not true. The decision to use this vaccine in older people was made only after sufficient data emerged (mainly from the UK, which was the first to use AstraZeneca), confirming a sharp reduction in the risk of severe disease in older people vaccinated with this vaccine.

However, bad word of mouth still led to the fact that at the beginning of 2021, the AstraZeneca drug was collecting dust on the shelves in medical institutions, although at that time there was no end to those wishing to be vaccinated.

The published protocols also highlight another nuance, showing that in RKI did not always assess the situation correctly or sometimes took into account factors that were not directly related to the essence of the problem. This is what happened with masks.

The institute's recommendations regarding the use of masks were ambivalent* and contradictory, and were clearly dictated by the fact that, due to political mistakes in Germany, masks simply were not available in sufficient quantities. At the end of February 2020, the then director of the RKI, Lothar Wieler, the publication writes, publicly recommended masks only for people with a cough and runny nose; in everyday life, he said, they were of no use. It is more effective, they say, to wash your hands thoroughly, sneeze into the crook of your elbow and not go to work sick. Less than a month has passed since at a meeting of the RKI crisis headquarters, according to the protocol, attention was drawn to the advisability of protective masks:

“At the latest, when masks are again more widely available, wearing them should be promoted more actively.”

It was March 19, 2020, three days before the first lockdown in Germany. In some neighboring countries, the obligation to wear masks had already been introduced. Residents of Germany were required to wear masks on public transport and shops only on April 29 of that year. But even months later, at meetings at the RKI, the need for, for example, masks like FFP-2 was questioned – allegedly due to the lack of “evidence of their effectiveness.”

*In psychiatry and clinical psychology, ambivalence refers to the periodically changing feelings that a person experiences in relation to one object – for example, in the morning he feels disgust towards it, in the evening he finds it attractive, the next day everything repeats, and so on in a circle.

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