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Corona Rules: “The end of the mask requirement will force us to isolate ourselves”

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Most of the corona rules will no longer apply in the future. For at-risk patients, this means limiting yourself even further. Five victims between anger and impotence

Many at-risk patients are very concerned about relaxation. © Sinitta Leunen/​unsplash.com

The indoor mask requirement is largely eliminated, the home office requirement will be abolished, 2G and 3G regulations will soon be history, that was decided by the federal and state governments last week. The new Infection Protection Law came into force on March 20.

However, it is not a “Freedom Day” as proclaimed in Denmark and England. At least basic so-called protection should be maintained: face masks in hospitals and on buses and trains, mandatory testing in schools by order. There are also hotspot regulations for local outbreaks. There were many discussions between the federal and state governments about the decision. Many federal states are now making use of the transitional regulation that the old German Infection Protection Act provides. The above regulations will remain in force until April 2. Many at-risk patients are very concerned about relaxation. Because an infection with the corona virus would still be particularly dangerous for them.

Wiebke, 27, from Bavaria

I am desperate and angry when I think about the next loosening. I am concerned that many people will take the lifting of coronavirus restrictions as an opportunity to stop wearing masks and keep their distance. According to the motto: I don’t have to do it anymore, so I don’t do it either. I have greatly reduced my social contacts since the pandemic began. So I don’t think it’s right that in the future I have to give up going to restaurants or taking part in cultural activities like going to the movies and museums because politicians think that masks are no longer necessary there. This makes it difficult for me to participate, which is already limited for me as a disabled person.

I’m even thinking of filing a class action lawsuit with other high risk patients.

Wiebke

I am in a wheelchair and that is why I have a nursing service that comes every day and helps me on a daily basis. In December 2021 my father, with whom I live in a house, is in Crown sick. While he was in quarantine, the nursing staff would not come. As a result, I couldn’t take a shower for two weeks and my father had to help me change the bandages. Luckily I didn’t get infected.

If it were up to me, at least the obligation to wear a mask in all interior spaces and the minimum distance would be maintained. I am even thinking of filing a class action lawsuit with other risk patients if I get infected with Corona now that the lockdown has been relaxed. I have depression and borderline personality disorder. That’s why I take medications that increase my risk of infection. In the best of cases, I continue with a mild course and “only” the same problem I had with my father’s illness: no nursing service and two weeks without a shower. In the worst case, I have to go to the hospital.

Ash, 33, from Baden-Württemberg

Ash.  © private

Ash. © private

Before the pandemic, most people were unaware of my chronic ME/CFS condition. Now I often explain it as “something like Long Covid but without Covid”. The smallest daily activities, like preparing food or taking a shower, are exhausting. If I can leave the house, I have to recover for hours or days afterwards. I have not been infected with Covid-19 yet, fortunately, because every infection is dangerous for me. I have to reckon with the fact that my general condition would deteriorate so much that I would be completely bedridden.

With the abolition of the mask requirement in schools, supermarkets and retail stores, the risk of infection increases enormously for me. It makes me very angry and helpless to see how easy it is to go from protecting vulnerable groups to the plague. No one officially calls it that, but that is the consequence of the decisions. Most disabled and chronically ill people are not in closed shelters, we also have the right to participate in social life. We are already being denied this in many areas anyway and the abolition of the mask requirement will now force many of us into isolation.

Due to my condition, I am rarely able to have visitors anyway. When friends come, we wear FFP2 or FFP3 masks, except when eating or drinking, we regularly ventilate and have a working air filter. Except for a brief hug to say hello and goodbye, we keep our distance from each other. With the abolition of the mask requirement, you and my parents, with whom I live in the same household, will be forced to have many more risky contacts, making you a greater “danger” to me. Two years ago I really miss the physical closeness and lightness. Now the situation is expected to get even worse.

Katrin, 26, from Hamburg

I have a chronic bowel disease that puts me at high risk. Nobody can tell me for sure what a corona infection would mean for me. However, I take various medications that greatly increase the risk of a serious or fatal course of infectious diseases. Therefore, the pandemic has significantly restricted my daily life: in the first month, my partner and I were only at home. Over time, like most of the others, I became more relaxed. However, I haven’t been on the bus or train for two years, I haven’t been to a cafe, and I only meet friends when they’ve been vaccinated and tested, and usually outside. A friend always does a PCR test before we meet so we can relax and hang out indoors. Out of respect, my mom and my partner’s parents self-quarantine for a week before each visit.

I am starting to lose the strength to constantly justify myself because I have to demand consideration.

Katherine

I lost a lot of social contacts during the pandemic. I try to bring others back to “normal” and I’m also really happy for my friends when they get to party. But that doesn’t work for me. And little by little I am losing the strength to constantly justify myself because I wear a mask and I have to demand consideration.

There will be a funeral soon and I will be a bridesmaid at a wedding in September. I have no idea how to attend these events when testing is no longer mandatory and people are not wearing masks. The mask requirement was a good way to feel more confident in everyday life. Over time, he had found a way to live with the pandemic and be able to more or less assess the risks. I had a good base of people that I trusted and could meet with because I knew exactly how many other people would see them differently. If more measurements are taken now, I can no longer estimate it so well. I have had depression during the pandemic and I am afraid that with this relaxation it may get worse again. I am afraid that “Freedom Day” will weigh heavily on me at first and then bring with it new considerations.

Verena, 27, from Berlin

I had Corona in January 2022. The infection itself was not that serious, the problem was something else: I have a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that forced me to go to the hospital regularly for infusions; It is vital to my survival. Due to the corona infection, my treatment was delayed for two weeks because my body still needed time after the quarantine to stabilize the blood values. As a result, the symptoms of my illness worsened: internal bleeding, diarrhea, rash, rheumatic pains. Mentally it was very difficult. I was terrified that these weeks would jeopardize the progress of my health over the past two years. I think that many people are not aware of the rat’s tail that a corona infection brings with it for patients at risk.

I just hope that most people have understood the point of masks and continue to wear them. Even if they no longer have to.

Verena

Of course, I am happy for the healthy people who are now regaining a bit of normality, especially for the children. But every relaxation for them means a restriction for me and for other patients at risk. The idea that so many measures will now be taken is very oppressive to me. My heart races when I think about it, and lately I’ve been sleeping really badly because I’m afraid of re-infecting myself.

When someone celebrates the abolition of the mask requirement, I find it cynical. That is a measure that restricts very little. For us risk patients, however, it offers good protection. I do not understand this political decision, especially at this time when the number of cases is higher than ever.

I think I don’t isolate myself as much as many other high-risk patients. I go to events where the 3G rule applies and I also meet friends because I know they are very attentive to the situation. I still don’t know if I will change my behavior now with the next relaxation. I just hope that most people have understood the point of masks and continue to wear them. Even if they no longer have to.

Deetje, 19, from Hamburg

Deetje.  © Phi Dang

Deetje. © Phi Dang

I have bronchial asthma and chronic intestinal disease. Although I am an at-risk patient, I understand the slackening. Of course, it is a strange feeling for me that my health is being put at risk again. But after two years of the pandemic, it might be time to use common sense. I see the side of organizers, restaurant and hotel owners, for whom these relaxations make their business easier. That is also important. I don’t want to be selfish and expect everyone to follow my example.

If you wish, you can continue to wear a mask. If you want, you can keep your distance. I just hope the majority are and continue to be sensible, at least in large crowds. Then at least I’d have less stomach pain. I will definitely continue to use FFP2 masks myself. I don’t see any friends going to a party right now. I don’t meet in larger groups, just one-on-one with people I know roughly how many others they have contact with. I do self-assessments three times a week. I think that’s all I can do. Locking myself up at home is not an option for me, even after Freedom Day.


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