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Press Release | Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Societal aspects of the coronavirus pandemic: German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina presents third ad-hoc-statement

The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has published a third ad-hoc-statement on the COVID-19 pandemic. The attached paper entitled “Coronavirus Pandemic – Sustainable Ways to Overcome the Crisis” deals with the psychological, social, legal, educational, and economic aspects of the pandemic and describes strategies that may contribute to a gradual return to normality.

The authors of the statement emphasise that, in light of the psychological, social, economic, civil society, and political problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, curbing its spread must be given the highest priority. Although the pandemic will continue to define economic and societal life for months to come, criteria and policies have to be developed that go beyond the acute limitation of fundamental rights such as the freedom of movement to ensure a gradual return to normality. According to the statement, such a gradual relaxation of regulations requires consistently low infection rates to prevent the healthcare system from being overloaded, increasing identification of infected persons, and disciplined compliance with protective measures (hygiene, the wearing of mouth and nose protection, physical distancing).

he paper addresses questions of data- and model-based decision support and perspectives concerning the evaluation of legal rights. It also proposes recommendations for buffering psychological and social impacts. Besides, measures for the economic and financial sector, as well as the area of education, are illustrated. The statement identifies the following principles as a general framework: the protection of every individual human being and the facilitation of a dignified life, as well as the gradual restoration of the citizens' social, economic, political, and cultural capacity for action. The concepts of sustainability and resilience should guide all measures.

The third statement supplements the two previous ad-hoc-statements on health policy issues in dealing with the pandemic issued on April 3 and March 21. These recommendations continue to apply. In particular, the current focus on caring for COVID-19 patients must not lead to a shortfall in the care of others. Sufficient capacities in intensive care units and stocks of protective equipment should be held in reserve for new outbreaks of the pandemic. The healthcare system should be analysed and adjusted accordingly. Furthermore, every effort has to be made to expedite the research into effective medications and the development of quickly and widely available vaccines. The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina will closely monitor and support this process.

The publication "Coronavirus Pandemic - Sustainable Ways to Overcome the Crisis" can be found at: www.leopoldina.org/en/coronavirus

The Press and Public Relations Department will gladly provide suitable contacts. Please direct any inquiries to the email: press @leopoldina.org or call +49 (0)345 / 472 39-800.

The ad-hoc-statement "Coronavirus Pandemic - Measures Relevant to Health" of April 3 is available at: www.leopoldina.org/en/coronavirus-health

The ad-hoc-statement "Coronavirus Pandemic in Germany: Challenges and Options for Intervention" of March 21 is available at: www.leopoldina.org/en/coronavirus-pandemic


Dr. Christian Anton
Scientific Officer, Department Science – Policy – Society
Tel.: +49 (0)345 472 39‒861
Email: christian.anton@leopoldina.org

PD Dr. Stefan Artmann
Head of the Presidential Office
Tel.: +49 (0)345 472 39‒863
Email: stefan.artmann @leopoldina.org

Dr. Johannes Fritsch
Head of Office of the Joint Committee for the Handling of Security-Relevant Research
Tel.: +49 (0)160 9121 2676
Email: johannes.fritsch @leopoldina.org

Dr. Jan Nissen
Senior Officer, Department International Relations
Tel.: +49 (0)345 472 39‒834
E-Mail: jan.nissen @leopoldina.org

Dr. Stefanie Westermann
Scientific Officer, Department Science – Policy - Society
Tel.: +49 (0)345 472 39‒871
Email: stefanie.westermann @leopoldina.org



Julia Klabuhn

Acting Head of the Department Press and Public Relations

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 800
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 809
E-Mail presse(at)leopoldina.org