14 Oct. 2021 17:11
by Tilo Gräser
There have long been doubts about the authorities’ reported numbers on the COVID-19 pandemic and the basis for it. The debate about this broke out again after the corrections to the so-called vaccination quota by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The magazine Cicero published an article in its online edition on Wednesday asking about the reasons for the number theater.
The RKI announced on October 7th that it can be assumed that among adults up to 84 percent are vaccinated at least once and up to 80 percent are fully vaccinated. This can be read in the current RKI report “COVID-19 Vaccination Quota Monitoring in Germany (COVIMO)”. Thereupon Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) declared that “no further restrictions were necessary”.
Previously, the ministry and the RKI subordinate to it had assumed a “vaccination quota” of 79.1 percent for adults who had been vaccinated at least once and 75.4 percent for those who were fully vaccinated. In July, the institute, headed by veterinarian Lothar Wieler, stated that “at least 85 percent of 12 to 59 year olds or 90 percent of ≥60 year olds would have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19” in order to get closer to the end of the pandemic.
The federal government sees the vaccination quota as an important benchmark in the fight against COVID-19. The magazine Cicero is now wondering about “Wieler’s magic of numbers”. It must “finally be clarified why one stumbles from one statistical misstep to the next at the RKI,” demands the deputy editor-in-chief Ralf Hanselle.
Numbers magic at the RKI
According to the article, health ministers of the federal states, such as the Bavarian Klaus Holetschek (CSU), are now demanding “to take a closer look at the data chaos at the RKI”. Hanselle recalls that the RKI itself had already pointed out “certain uncertainties” in the figures for injections with the vaccines in August. The reports would have to be corrected upwards, it said.
For the Cicero-Editor is the “real question”, “why one had known about the arithmetic error for weeks, but still did not feel obliged to remedy the error at the venerable institute on Berlin’s Seestrasse”. The why leads quickly to the “true dimension of Koch’s number magic”. A number of “accounting errors” would “raise completely different questions”.
Hanselle reminds that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, doubts have been raised about the official data. Internationally renowned statisticians and epidemiologists have repeatedly pointed out “that many of the figures from the daily Corona dashboard are disproportionate to the real epidemic events”. But politics, science, but also the interested public was “largely irrelevant”, he says Cicero-Editor as an impression again.
Deliberately foregoing better data?
Among other things, he refers to statements made by the medical statistician Gerd Antes to the magazine at the beginning of September. He said, among other things, that it was “consistently prevented” to create a representative cohort study. Based on a representative group of 40,000 to 60,000 people, this could have provided information about the actual extent of the pandemic.
“But that didn’t really happen. And where such a study began, it was – unfortunately I have to say it so hard – hit the wall.”
In August of this year, among others, the economist Gabriel Felbermayr, director of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), clearly criticized the federal government because of the obviously poor data situation. He threw her in one from the magazine Mirror online published interview before “serious failures in collecting reliable corona numbers”.
Lack of interest among politicians?
Felbermayr sees intent behind this and thinks the government deliberately refrains from better data collection. In his opinion, “comprehensive, precise data on the pandemic could be collected: from the occurrence of infection to vaccination. Politicians could use this data to take targeted measures. But: The systematic collection of data is politically undesirable. That is frustrating”.
In spring 2020, the federal government rejected a concept for data collection presented by the IfW. According to Felbermayr, the basis should be a representative study with tens of thousands of people. The Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck, among others, requested one in spring 2020 and was surprised that the Robert Koch Institute responsible for this did not start a corresponding study.
Felbermayr reported that the proposal for representative data collection was then submitted again to the responsible ministries in the summer of 2020: “… but again nothing moved. That was extremely frustrating. We then gave up.” In the interview, the IfW director “strongly doubted that the responsible politicians would be interested in collecting a complete data image so shortly before the election”.
The renowned medical statistician Antes has long accused the government of extremely poor data management. In one in July this year in the Pharmacy magazine published interview he said, “If Health Minister Spahn only now, after 15 months, demands more precise hospital reports such as age, type of treatment and vaccination status, then that annoys me immensely. This is exactly what was debated in the Bundestag committee in November at the latest and this hesitant behavior can have done a great deal of damage “.
Antes includes the economic damage, the “psychological damage, especially in children and adolescents”, but also in adults, “who constantly crouched on top of each other and had to replace part of the school for the children”, but also medical damage, for example from being abducted Cancer diagnoses.
Scientists paid by the ministry
The mathematician and statistics expert Gerd Bosbach has long been calling for a representative study on the pandemic situation. Among other things, this is necessary in order to be able to determine the number of unreported cases of those actually infected with SARS-CoV-2. He explained that to the in February of this year Berlin newspaper.
“The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has refused to carry out a comprehensive representative study, unfortunately I have to put it this way. We therefore do not know how high it is.”
The episode is loud Cicero-Editor Hanselle a “policy of measures flying blind, which one could certainly have crowned with an aluminum hat in their particularly pseudo-scientific places”. He describes conflicts of interest as the obvious cause. RKI President Wieler is not an independent numerical genius, but a “Graf Zahl in the upper class of civil servants, whose actions are dependent on the instructions of the Federal Minister of Health”.
Medical statistician Antes made this over to the in September Berlin newspaper attentive. Wieler could “not simultaneously act as a scientist and pretend he was doing independent research”. This also applies, for example, to infection modeller Dirk Brockmann: “He often appears as a scientist at Humboldt University, but this professorship is funded by the RKI. Then he sits on Lanz on the talk show and comments on the RKI’s massively false predictions for mid-April 2021 without his role being made clear. “
The “close symbiosis between Wieler and the executive who financed him” became loud Cicero Already in March 2020 when the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) approached scientists with the help of the RKI. You should create the well-known fear strategy paper of the BMI, which specifically and dramatically presented the threats from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This should justify the following tough political action.
Political goals more important?
The disclosure of the relevant e-mails between the ministry and the inquiries was fought for by a group of lawyers in a legal dispute with the RKI that lasted several months. The daily had it The world reported in February of this year. Wieler and other employees of the RKI themselves gave out loud Cicero in the e-mails “to recognize again and again that political goals are ultimately more important than scientific evidence”.
“This, according to the medical lawyer Marion Rosenke, who was suing for disclosure at the time, laid the foundation stone for unscientificness, a lack of empirical evidence and a lack of evidence. A foundation stone that ran like a red thread through the entire crisis.”
Hanselle refers in his CiceroContribution to the fact that, among other things, the FDP politician Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus criticized the too close proximity of the RKI and von Wieler to the line of the federal government. “We are campaigning for the RKI to be guaranteed political independence in the future,” Aschenberg-Dugnus told the a few days ago image-Newspaper. According to the FDP election program, this also includes a new management of the institute.
Demands for an independent RKI
A number of well-known scientists, doctors, lawyers, artists and entrepreneurs had made a similar statement in an open letter to the parties before the federal election on September 26th. In addition to Antes, the signatories included the Berlin lawyer Niko Härting, the pediatrician Steffen Rabe, the specialist Heike L. Funck, the legal scientist Oliver Lepsius, the psychologist Cora Hubrich, the virologist Klaus Stöhr, the musician Paul van Dyk and numerous others different areas of society. They asked:
“Why is the Robert Koch Institute – unlike the data protection authorities, for example – not an independent authority, but subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Health?”
Cicero-Editor Hanselle sees this as a “sensible demand” and adds: “For our basic rights, however, and for a sober and scientific view of the epidemic, it comes 20 months too late.”
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