In the corona crisis, the top political personnel recognized their preference for public health. Angela Merkel recently promoted the health protection of citizens to her top political guideline and federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz finds it even” cynical “to even discuss"that health issues should stand aside and economic issues should go ahead”. I hear the message well, but I lack faith. If Merkel, Scholz and co. taking it seriously with their newly discovered enthusiasm for Health Protection, numerous other fields of activity await political lifesavers away from Corona. Lets go! Or rather not?
To date, the new Coronavirus has caused 120,000 deaths worldwide. This corresponds roughly to the number of people who die year after year in Germany alone from the consequences of tobacco consumption. Almost one in eight deaths in this country is therefore caused by smoking, even if there are problems with the Definition here – similar to Corona. Of course, no one dies directly “through” smoking. Smoking, however, is the main risk factor for numerous cancers, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases and as controversial as the attribution of the cause of death in individual cases may be, it is indisputable that smoking is the number one cause of death in industrialized societies beyond the statistical subtleties. If the protection of the health of the citizens now really has top priority, why is the sale of tobacco products in Germany actually still allowed? Could it be due to the approximately 14 billion euros of tax revenue from tobacco tax? But then the health issues would be put behind the economic questions and that would be “cynical"according to current large-coalition language. Or is German politics itself cynical about this issue? According to the EU, Germany is one of the states that “does not have the political will” to push the fight against tobacco use. If Merkel, Scholz and co. want to save people’s lives … sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.
The same applies to obesity. This is blamed for around 75,000 deaths per year in Germany-here, most victims then die of cardiovascular diseases, and the trend is increasing. If politicians were to take their touching concern for public health seriously, they could, for example, start banning particularly high-calorie diets for children and inform consumers about the ingredients of foods by means of transparent labelling. This, however, has little to do with the food industry and its political Arm within the government, Julia Klöckner. Has Angela Merkel not yet told her party friend about her newly discovered love for Health Protection? Hardly possible, with 75,000 deaths per year, the economic interests must be put aside. Or not?
And since we are already with the wine queen Julia Klöckner-right behind smoking and obesity – certainly gladly in combination – the alcohol appears in the third place of the causes of death. Around 74,000 people die each year from the direct and indirect consequences of their alcohol consumption. You would want these deaths as rigorous as the victims of the corona pandemic, one would have to the consumption of alcohol-containing products, starting with the double grain, on the Franconian Bocksbeutel, to brandy bean, from today to tomorrow say. Of course, these would not only be culturally, but also economically very profound measures, as millions of people work from alcohol, from winemakers to brewers to retailers and restaurants. According to Scholz’s diction, however, it would also be cynical to recall these Jobs. The “corona cabinet” is therefore probably already working on a bill that will prohibit the cultivation, trade and consumption of alcohol-containing products in the future. If public health is to be the ultimate goal and economic interests have to subordinate themselves to it, there can be no other solution. Or did I get something wrong?
According to the WHO, the diseases of civilization resulting from the consumption of tobacco and alcohol and obesity are a far greater threat to public health than any other known epidemic of mankind. Compared to the death rates, which have tobacco, alcohol consumption and obesity on the kerb wood, Covid-19 is indeed a rather small number. It is at least astonishing that politicians are prepared to paralyze half the country economically for Covid-19, while ignoring the much greater dangers to public health. By the way: the current number of Covid-19 deaths in Germany is still well below that of the deaths from fall injuries in the own household.
The diseases of civilization are only the tip of the iceberg. What about the approximately 20,000 deaths that occur year after year at the expense of hospital germs? Of course, those who want to prevent these deaths would have to dig deep into their pockets and, above all, demand more staff for the hospitals; but since this is about health protection and not about profane returns, Merkel’s cabinet will certainly soon tackle this issue. Anything else would be a big Surprise.
And if you are already there in Berlin, you can immediately launch a large new legislative package with accompanying measures … introduction of new speed limits on motorways and roads, the construction of safe bicycle paths, stricter emission and Immission guidelines for pollutants and and and. If economic interests no longer play a role in such balancing issues, health protection is likely to face Golden times and the “corona pandemic of 2020” will go down in history as a turning point. Don’t you think? Or is that now also “cynical”?