A commenter with a complex German nickname brought the following Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung diatribe to my attention:
I think it's clear that the masks reduce the propagation of the disease. The disease was dropping in Czechia up to early July and when we threw away the masks completely, the disease started to grow again, albeit slowly. The growth accelerated when the kids returned back to school but there's no problem with it. The masks rather demonstrably make a difference (which may turn a growth to a decrease) but it doesn't mean that it's sensible to wear it at all times and in all places. The masks are still annoying and they also discourage people from going outside, to pubs, shops etc. The devil is in the details, only some times and places are reasonable (public indoor spaces were at least somewhat reasonable in April when some uncertainty still existed about the ability of the virus to kill us or cripple us); nations that already have herd immunity who adopted the masks in the summer are way too late and this decision was just totally dumb.
And the text notices that in Czechia, the atmosphere has changed dramatically since March and April and Czechs don't have a problem with the number of cases that was over 1160 on Monday and they have really returned to the normal lives, a fact that the author clearly hates. Czechs have turned into problematic teenage drug addicts, we learn. Well, Czechia almost matched all of Germany on that day (Monday, yesterday) when it comes to this quantity (number of positive tests) and stood at the respectable 8th place in Europe.
To prove that this is a typical totalitarian propaganda, a wonderful June 30th party is being attacked by the author. On that day, a giant 500-meter-long table was placed on the historical Charles Bridge and some 2000 Prague dwellers brought their food, wines, and other good stuff to celebrate the freedom: since July 1st, there were no nationwide Covid restrictions in Czechia. (In June, masks were only mandatory in public indoor spaces, just like from tomorrow, so a mask-free bridge party was obviously totally kosher in late June.)
Germans are a fanatically obedient herd and this Czech manifestation of freedom (and love for freedom) is exactly what these Germans – who may credibly yet insanely claim to define the German mainstream again – viscerally dislike. There was a lot of authentic joy on that bridge (although no Czech may ever be seen with an "excessive manifestation of enthuasiasm", ever LOL). The last German man who composed an ode to joy was Ludwig van Beethoven, however. It was in 1824.
The June 30th party obviously didn't celebrate the end of the virus. No one in Czechia (surely not the organizer) expected the virus to eternally disappear. It celebrated the end of the restrictions on basic freedoms which is a much more important thing than a flu virus. And happily enough, Czechs enjoyed a free July, free August, and 9 free September days before we need to put on face masks in indoor spaces since tomorrow again (we will reverse to the June conditions which were reasonably relaxed, however). These were wonderful 2 months of freedom (not too many nations enjoyed such a normal summer 2020, thanks for that!) much like the years 1918-1938 were rather rare years of a free Czechoslovakia.
That FAZ text uncritically worships some activists from the so-called World Health Organization. Our prime minister Andrej Babiš wisely told them "Shut up, aßholes. You even failed to predict that the virus would grow to a 'pandemic' by a human-to-human transmission and you failed to notice that face masks were a good way to tame the contagion and its health impact." And he added a table showing that Czechia is approximately 5th most successful country in Europe when it comes to the minimization of "deaths with Covid" per million inhabitants which is the only well-defined quantity that sort of matters (unlike "cases"). I am amazed that in this clearcut exchange, someone else may side with the human trash working for the WHO, an anti-science activist organization led by an African Marxist terrorist and largely controlled by China (plus Bill Gates) that did and say everything incorrectly. People who support the WHO hired guns against our government are just filth.
It was bad that in March, Czechia joined the overwhelming majority of the nations that introduced draconian policies to fight against this silly disease. In Q2 of 2020, the Czech economy dropped by 11% year-on-year because of this unprecedented blunder. But from the beginning, we could see that Czechia differed from the rest of the meta-herd of brainwashed nations. We were trying to deal with the situation and invent clever solutions that work. You could see some "good soldier Švejk" in the Czechs' behavior and you could feel their record amount of atheism, too (this atheism applies not only to Christianity; it is the real reason why we denounce Islam much more than any other European nation and why we can't join green, Tesla, and similar cults, either). The face masks were the most prominent example of a broader difference in the thinking. Millions of people were genuinely worried but they still wanted to act usefully and rationally. Lots of people were trying to compare costs and benefits and improve the policies and restrictions (and invent exceptions that are justifiable) so that people are actually satisfied enough in the new status quo.
From the beginning of the coronavirus hysteria, I was sure that intelligent nations would ultimately see that this hype was insanely exaggerated and the disease wasn't too different from flu (even if Covid were 5 times more deadly than flu, which it could have been according to the data available up to March, it would still be "analogous" to flu and a totally different "societal regime" was just utterly unjustifiable). Most of the Czech physicians are sure about this statement today and instinctively, this wisdom has made it to the median Czech citizen, too. The opposition against mandatory face masks was at 70-80% a week ago and now, when the "cases" doubled or tripled within a week (with the help of the schools), about 2/3 of Czechs still oppose the reintroduction of the face masks in public indoor spaces. But it's a reasonably narrow majority so that the government may find it sensible to act against the will of the majority. A wise government obviously shouldn't just "copy polls".
A part of the reason behind the Czech sixpack Joe's relaxed attitude ("Pepík") is that our medical elite has clearly regained its composure and virtually every physician or immunologist or epidemiologist speaks sensibly during interviews. Viewers get it. It's just another mild common disease. It is not a big deal. It is irrational to think about it totally differently than about flu. People who are interested in the question see that Sweden did things very differently and it is already in the very best situation, in comparison with the rest of the EU. It really seems that "another wave" is just totally impossible in Sweden. The disease has ended there. I think that most people understand that Sweden is the actual model child that we should emulate and we may still do it better than then did and save many lives.
It's sort of interesting but I believe that the dynamics of the Czech opinions about Covid-19 does copy the Czech national character (which has been shaped by the elimination of the Czech elites in several waves since 1621; and by the identification of religions as "their weapons"). In a show, the mainstream Czech comedian and writer Zdeněk Svěrák was teaching kids what is the "right degree of courage" which is sort of accepted as the measured Czech wisdom. "You may bend but don't forget that you must straighten your back later again!" Right. This is really describing our history during the Second World War and many other events. The typical Czech bent his back... but before the majority of nations, he unbent it and did the right things, often enthusiastically. We did surrender to Germany peacefully in 1938 and 1939 because the excess of brute force seemed to speak a clear language. But whopping 3-4 days before the Second World War ended, the heroic people in our capital already kickstarted the Prague Uprising LOL.
In the Covid case, Czechs were probably destined to join the majority and the "powerful trend of Europe". But they were never among the "true mindless believers" and started to think and question things and that's why they gradually learned who was right. They never forgot that the policies should really serve the citizens of a country; they shouldn't be just arbitrary regulations that someone has imposed because he is powerful. And it's just totally wrong to restrict whole nations of 10 million or more because of a health risk for a few thousand.
On the other hand, the German writer reflects the uptight and obedient German national character, something that mimicks the behavior of Germans during the Second World War and in many other important chapters of the European history. It was always "cool" for Germans to attack spontaneous parties (celebrations), people who are having fun, people who like their freedom, people who have any sense of humor (unlike 99.9% of Germans who don't have any).
Needless to say, Germany is expected to introduce a mandatory 14-day-long quarantine for visitors from Czechia, starting from tomorrow (the personal quarantine was shortened to 10 days in Czechia). Germany turned into a leading country that wants to hide from Covid and that wants to do it for quite some time. But it's a stupid and anti-Western approach to this topic. Every sane person must see by now that the health impact of Covid-19 is at most comparable with flu and doesn't justify any war-like draconian measures. And the earlier a nation reaches herd immunity (like Sweden did, and like Brazil will within weeks etc.), the better, the happier lives will be expected soon.
The Oxford vaccine has apparently created unexpected health problems for one recipient in a trial and the trial was suspended (although it's not clear by now whether this whole vaccine project will be thrown to the garbage bin). Vaccines will look risky for half a year or more, most people won't take them, and governments won't feel confident to make them mandatory (at least here). I find it rather obvious that they won't make a big difference during the winter and the winter may be enough to energize a quickly increasing Covid contagion despite face masks. Even from this viewpoint, it's a very good idea to develop some degree of immunity in the late summer in each rational nation, especially when it's as obvious as it is in Czechia that the percentage of mild cases (plus asymptomatic carriers) is very close to 100%. A way to look is that some 2-5 million have to become immune for herd immunity, anyway, and we're just dividing these people to different moments. It's just pointless and way too annoying and expensive to delay the infections by weeks or even months!
The FAZ article shows what kind of Covid-related politics and ideology may be expected from Germany in coming months or years: a return to Coronazism and totalitarianism. (How the would-be "mainstream" German media present the totally sensible anti-Covid-hysteria demonstrators in Berlin as "far right extremists" is an example of atrocious Nazi-style propaganda.) This is an extremely bad insight for Czechia as well because, whether we like it or not, the Czech national sovereignty has been "cutoff" by the German neighbor (Bohemia was the only genuine autonomous kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) throughout the second millennium and this restriction exists now again.
So people outside the Holy Roman Empire should try to develop some empathy for Czechs and their relationship to the larger country (with the "rest of the HRE"). We're independent but we know that when things get serious, the independence doesn't have to be full-blown. That's why the political changes and conflicts within Germany must be partially understood as "our domestic problems", too. We aren't doing crazy things that Germany is doing – with the Islamization, gr@tinism, abolition of nuclear energy, and tons of other things – but we know that when tension run really high, Germany may impose its often (and increasingly) insane policies on us, like it did in the past.
That's why it's a potentially serious problem when an apparently mainstream German newspaper publishes this kind of idiotic attack on an adjacent country, its sovereignty, its dignity, and its intelligent approach to an innocent respiratory disease. By the way, the newest numbers: Czechia performed the record 15,000 tests in recent 24 hours and there were 701 positive ones within 18 hours. So it's more likely than not that when the daily number is out at 1 am, we will beat the record 1164 from yesterday. More tests means more positive tests and the disease is probably genuinely growing now, when no restrictions were in place and children enjoyed their normal schools. But what really matters are hospitalizations, serious cases, and deaths. We have 244 hospitalized patients (below 450, a peak in April) including 57 serious ones (drop by 5 in a day, below 108, a peak in April). There are 444 deaths with Covid so far and about ~3 deaths with Covid are added each day at this moment (about 300 Czechs die every day without Covid). This is obviously a reasonable, sustainable number. We have adapted to this situation (and Covid will surely shrink in a month or earlier again). It's too bad when a nation without any sense of humor, a nation with almost no respect to the freedom and with a Nazi history, seems annoyed by the fact that another nation is happy enough in the conditions that currently exist and with the "rhythm of life" that may be expected assuming that we avoid the full-blown Coronazism.