A district judge in Weimar acquitted a man who was to be sentenced to a fine for violating the ban on corona contact by celebrating his birthday with at least seven other participants from a total of eight households, six guests too many after the Thuringian Corona Regulation. The judge’s judgment is devastating : The Corona Ordinance is unconstitutional and objectionable in terms of substantive law.
For the first time, a judge dealt intensively with the medical facts, the economic consequences and the effects of the specific policy.
Part of the rule of law is the requirement of the definiteness of laws. Laws may not simply make blanket orders and thus encourage an interpretation by the authorities according to taste and thus arbitrariness. According to the Infection Protection Act, the “competent authority takes the necessary protective measures”. In normal operation, this means that excretors or people suspected of excretion can be isolated or contaminated premises can be closed.
The Infection Protection Act does not provide for a general ban on contact that also applies to healthy people. However, so far it has been argued by many administrative courts, exceeding the regulatory circle of the infection protection law beyond the normal course can be justified if it is an “unprecedented event” that is so new that the legislature is unable to provide the necessary regulations beforehand could meet.
The judge does not accept this excuse: As early as 2013, the Bundestag was presented with a risk analysis of a pandemic caused by a “Virus Modi-SARS” in cooperation with the Robert Koch Institute. Deaths in Germany over a period of three years were described and anti-epidemic measures in such a pandemic were discussed (Bundestag printed paper 17/12051). The legislature could therefore have checked the regulations of the Infection Protection Act with regard to such an event, which was considered at least to be “conditionally likely” (probability of occurrence class C) and, if necessary, adjusted it. This political failure, as a result of which Germany ran into the epidemic practically unprepared – without legal precautions to combat it, without stocks of masks,
In particular, since an epidemic situation, i.e. the basis for the expansion of the tried and tested infection control regulations, does not exist (any longer). The numbers of infected and sick people had already fallen in the spring, so the lockdown came too late and was generally ineffective.
A concrete risk of overloading the health system through a “wave” of COVID-19 patients at no point. As can be seen from the DIVI intensive care registry, which was newly established on March 17, 2020, at least 40% of the intensive care beds in Germany were continuously free in March and April. In Thuringia, 378 intensive care beds were reported as occupied on April 3, 2020, 36 of them with COVID-19 patients. There were 417 (!) Free beds. On April 16, 2020, two days before the regulation was issued, 501 intensive care beds were reported as occupied, 56 of them with COVID-19 patients. There were 528 (!) Free beds compared to this … The maximum number of reported COVID-19 patients in Thuringia was 63 in spring (April 28), the number of COVID-19 patients was never in a range
This assessment of the actual dangers posed by COVID-19 in spring 2020 is confirmed by an evaluation of billing data from 421 clinics of the Quality Medicine Initiative, which came to the conclusion that the number of SARI cases treated in Germany in the first half of 2020 (SARI = severe acute respiratory infection) with a total of 187,174 cases was even lower than in the first half of 2019 (221,841 cases), although this also included COVID-related SARI cases. According to this analysis, the number of intensive care cases and ventilation cases was also lower in the first half of 2020 than in 2019.
The death statistics paint a similar picture . According to a special evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office, 484,429 people died in Germany in the first half of 2020, 479,415 in the first half of 2019, 501,391 in 2018, 488,147 in 2017 and 461,055 in 2016. In both 2017 and 2018 there were more deaths in the first half of the year than in 2020.
The horror prognoses, which significantly influenced the decision about the lockdown in the spring, … were also based on false ideas about the lethality of the virus (so-called infection fatality rate = IFR) and about an existing or missing basic immunity against the virus in the population .. .. According to a meta study by the medical scientist and statistician John Ioannidis, one of the most cited scientists worldwide, published in a WHO bulletin in October, the median mortality is 0.27%, corrected 0.23% and is therefore no higher than in moderate influenza epidemics.
The judge’s conclusion: There were no “unacceptable gaps in protection” that would have justified recourse to general clauses. These measures would violate the human dignity, guaranteed inviolably, in Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law. This is a massive accusation against the federal government. It is remarkable how coolly the judge in Weimar sums up the months-long discussion:
“A general ban on contact is a serious interference with civil rights. It is one of the fundamental freedoms of people in a free society that they can determine for themselves which people (provided they are willing) and under which circumstances they come into contact. The free encounter of people with one another for the most varied of purposes is at the same time the elementary basis of society. In principle, the state has to refrain from any targeted regulatory and restrictive intervention. The question of how many people a citizen invites to his home or how many people a citizen meets in public space to go for a walk, do sports, go shopping or sit on a park bench,
With the ban on contact, the state is attacking the foundations of society – albeit in good faith – by forcing physical distance between citizens (“social distancing”). Hardly anyone in Germany could still imagine in January 2020 that the state could forbid them to invite their parents to their home under the threat of a fine, unless the other members of their family were allowed to leave the house while they were there sends. Hardly anyone could imagine that three friends could not be allowed to sit together on a park bench. Never before has the state thought of taking such measures to combat an epidemic. Even in the risk analysis “Pandemic by Virus Modi-SARS” (BT-Drs. 17/12051), which described a scenario with 7.5 million deaths, a general ban on contact (as well as curfews and the extensive shutdown of public life) is not considered. As anti-epidemic measures, in addition to quarantine of contact persons of infected persons and isolation of infected persons, only school closings, the cancellation of major events and hygiene recommendations are mentioned (BT-Drs. 17/12051, p. 61f).
Much of the public has now almost come to terms with the New Normal. However, according to the judge, life previously perceived as “normal” is now being reinterpreted as a criminal offense:
“Although it seems that there was a shift in values during the months of the Corona crisis, with the result that processes that were previously regarded as absolutely exceptional are now perceived by many people as more or less“ normal ”, which of course they do With a change in view of the Basic Law, after what has been said, there should be no doubt that with a general ban on contact, the democratic constitutional state violates a taboo that has hitherto been taken for granted.
In addition, and as a separate aspect, it must be noted that the state, with the general ban on contact for the purpose of infection protection, treats every citizen as a potential threat to the health of third parties. If every citizen is viewed as a threat from whom others must be protected, he is at the same time deprived of the opportunity to decide which risks he exposes himself, which represents a fundamental freedom. Whether the citizen visits a café or a bar in the evening and accepts the risk of infection with a respiratory virus for the sake of conviviality and joie de vivre, or whether she is more cautious because she has a weakened immune system and therefore prefers to stay at home, she is under Validity of a general ban on contact is no longer left to the decision. “
The magistrate meticulously examines studies that show how ineffective the ban on contact is. He weighs the restrictions on freedom against the fact that protection has been neglected in old people’s homes, while the less endangered population is no longer allowed to take to the streets.
At the same time, the judge deals intensively with the increasingly massive collateral damage of the lockdown decisions:
(1) Loss of profits / losses of companies / craftsmen / freelancers, which are the direct consequences of the restrictions of freedom addressed to them
(2) Loss of profits / losses of companies / craftsmen / freelancers that are indirect consequences of the lockdown measures (e.g. loss of profit from suppliers of directly affected companies; loss of profit that result from the interruption of supply chains and, for example, lead to production downtimes; loss of profit resulting from Travel restrictions resulted)
(3) Loss of wages and salaries due to short-time work or unemployment
(4) Bankruptcies / Destruction of Existence
5) Follow-up costs of bankruptcies / destruction of livelihoods
The database of the analysis comes from a report by Prof. Murswiek. In the summer, he criticized the fact that the lockdown in March was only partially constitutional. General assembly bans are also incompatible with the Basic Law. Above all, however, the Federal Government decided without comprehensible facts and did not submit a cost-benefit analysis.
The devastating consequences of the corona policy
“Most of this damage can be determined fairly accurately. They are certainly gigantic overall. You can get an idea of their magnitude if you keep in mind the sums of money the state is feeding into the economic cycle as corona aid. The “Corona protective shield” approved by the federal government includes EUR 353.3 billion in grants and an additional EUR 819.7 billion in guarantees, a total of over EUR 1 trillion. As the federal government says, it is the largest aid package in the history of Germany. There is also aid from the federal states. Since the state aid largely comprises loans or loan guarantees, they are not necessarily offset by correspondingly high losses in the private sector.
Never before in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany has economic damage of this magnitude been caused by a government decision. As far as the assessment of the damage to the private sector and private households is concerned, it must be taken into account that some of the losses have been or are still being compensated for by state benefits. The state benefits thus reduce the economic damage suffered by private economic agents. However, they do not reduce the overall economic damage, because they are a burden on public budgets and thus ultimately on taxpayers. These costs must not be ignored when calculating the disadvantages of the lockdown. “
As further consequences the judge lists and proves:
the increase in domestic violence against children and women
Increase in depression as a result of social isolation Anxiety psychoses / anxiety disorders as a result of corona
Anxiety and other mental disorders / nervous overload due to family / personal / professional problems as a result of the lockdown
Increase in suicides, for example as a result of unemployment or bankruptcy
health impairments due to lack of exercise
Omission of operations and inpatient treatment because hospital beds have been reserved for corona patients Omission of operations, inpatient treatments, doctor visits because patients fear infection with Covid-19.
The judge’s conclusion is tough, and in another point he also names the damage that occurs in many of the economically dependent countries of the south:
“Having said that, there can be no doubt that the number of deaths caused by the lockdown policy alone is many times the number of deaths prevented by the lockdown. For this reason alone, the standards to be assessed here do not meet the requirement of proportionality. Added to this are the direct and indirect restrictions on freedom, the gigantic financial damage, the immense damage to health and ideal. The word “disproportionate” is too colorless to even suggest the dimensions of what is happening. The lockdown policy pursued by the state government in the spring (and now again), of which the general ban on contact was (and is) an essential part,