The German Business Institute (IW), which is close to the employer, advocates a gradual return to normal despite the remaining corona risk.
IW boss Michael Hüther and IW managing director Hubertus Bardt have outlined how this is supposed to succeed in the paper “From lockdown to the new normal”, which WELT is available.
It differs in important points from the much discussed no-covid strategy, which is supported by the head of the Ifo Institute, Clemens Fuest, among others.
"The complete elimination of the virus will not succeed in our open society," says Hüther.
"Therefore we have to accept a certain health risk and unfortunately also a certain mortality in order to be able to return to normal in the long term."
The IW economists therefore advocate weighing more carefully between the health risk posed by the virus and economic and social impairments.
On the one hand, you see the costs of the virus spread: damage to health, treatment costs and illness-related economic follow-up costs.
The tougher the measures to avoid these costs, the higher the costs on the other hand - namely in the form of missed educational opportunities, psychological stress, costs of company closings and restrictions on freedom.
"A societal optimum is not to be sought in the extreme case of complete avoidance and risk-free, but will lie in a combination of low spread and good control of the virus and its consequences," says the IW paper.
"We need targeted hotspot management"
There is therefore an urgent need for a social debate about how many corona cases and corona deaths the country can and will accept.
Such a consideration is also made with all other infectious and fatal diseases.
New infections were not enough as a key figure.
In the context of the assessment, information about specific hotspots, reasons for infection, severity of the course of the disease and occupancy of the medical facilities should also be taken into account.
In these points, Hüther sees a difference to the so-called No-Covid Initiative, which, in addition to Fuest, also the virologist Melanie Brinkmann and the physicist Michael Meyer-Herrmann from the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig advocate.
Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder is also a supporter of this approach.
The no-Covid strategy envisages lifting restrictions on everyday life locally where the pandemic is under control and there are no new infections of unknown origin for 14 days.
Such "green zones" should be protected by drastic travel restrictions:
People from “red zones” in which there are local infections outside of quarantine or isolation should not be allowed to visit “green zones”.
Citizens tired of the Corona restrictions should be motivated by the prospect of “green zones” to abide by the rules.
“We don't need different zones, but targeted hotspot management,” replies IW boss Hüther, referring to the example of the meat industry last year.
Because even if permanent restrictive measures only apply to certain zones, a comprehensive lockdown of the national economy is associated with this “in view of the settlement structure in Europe and the spatial networking via supply chains”.
In order to then live with the virus in everyday life with fewer restrictions, two things are essentially needed: “In addition to the fastest possible vaccination success, comprehensive testing must be central to the permanent control of the corona situation,” write the economists, “all of the technological possibilities of digitization in order to accomplish the tracking quickly and easily. "
Many different corona tests should be privately available at the beginning of March.
The results could be integrated into a tracking system with an interface to the health authorities.
Possible inaccuracies in rapid antigen tests would have to be accepted.
Because overall, the risk of infection is reduced.
"It's always cheaper than a comprehensive lockdown."