Berlin (dpa) – When Hanna Christiansen has to assess how politicians deal with children and adolescents in the corona pandemic, the psychologist thinks of the word “catastrophe”.
And by that she means above all: communication. “It has been back and forth for a year,” says the head of child and adolescent psychology at Philipps University of Marburg. In this difficult situation, it is especially important to communicate wisely and clearly.
“If, due to the infection situation, on-site lessons are not possible, then you have to transfer it: unfortunately that is currently not possible, but we have good concepts and we are working on improving digital lessons,” says Christiansen. . For this you in turn have to involve the students much more. “They know very well what they need and how it can work.”
Children and young people are badly affected by the pandemic – from a lack of prospects, but also from poor communication and a lack of appreciation from politicians. “Why are there no think tanks with children and young people? They know best what the most pressing questions are for them, ”says the psychologist. Such groups are smart and creative, “they come up with ideas that adults never come up with.”
She calls for young people and their needs to be taken more seriously and involved. Make them feel self-reliant. “These are people who are just starting to form a political opinion. If I don’t feel like I’m being taken seriously and don’t know where I am, that can hurt a lot of confidence. “
This seems important, especially against the background that with the third wave, which is becoming increasingly explosive, improvement is not so quickly in sight. In addition to infections in private households and in the professional environment, the Robert Koch Institute sees the development increasingly caused by accumulations in day care centers and schools, according to Tuesday’s management report. The number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants is increasing, especially among people up to 44 years of age. “The strongest increase is seen in children between the ages of zero and 14 years, where the 7-day incidence has doubled in the past four weeks.”
No one knows exactly how long it will take to leave the schools and daycare centers, which are currently largely open. Infections among the population are on the rise – and most schools and day care centers are far from vaccinated staff and regular testing. “This is an experiment of which no one knows the outcome,” says Folke Brinkmann, the current head of pediatric pneumology at the University Children’s Clinic in Bochum.
The scientist would have liked a lower starting level for the number of infections before the openings. It also makes no sense to test once a week. That is “window dressing”. “You need well-vaccinated staff, plus hygiene regulations. If you test every other day, you have a little more certainty, ”Brinkmann explains. In the outbreaks she recently saw in nurseries and schools, the infections always came from adults. The infection rates in the groups are high. In addition: “The variant B.1.1.7, which is currently spreading in Germany, is more contagious for everyone.”
From a purely epidemiological point of view, the necessary procedure would therefore be perfectly clear, says Timo Ulrichs: close everything again. “But the schools are important,” says the epidemiologist from Akkon University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. At least until Easter, switching classes and when in doubt, shut down everything else to make this happen – he thinks that’s the best solution. In schools, hygiene concepts must be strictly adhered to, teachers must be vaccinated and all must be rigorously tested. In addition, infections must be responded to quickly with quarantine for the affected group.
“The situation in Germany is currently very heterogeneous. We have a few states with many cases and very high rises. The loosening has to be brought back there, ”says Ulrichs. In others, however, the situation is much better. Which, from his point of view, would be extremely counterproductive: Easter travel. “We have a much more unstable situation than in the summer.” In this way, infections within Germany can also be dragged from regions with high numbers to regions that have not yet been seriously affected.