The Zeitgeist

The Zeitgeist

Episode 23: Health Minister Jens Spahn on the Coronavirus

April 24, 2020

The globe is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.  Germany appears to many to be a success story of sorts: over 150,000 infections, but a low death rate.  Widespread testing. A well-resourced health system that has been able to manage the patient load thus far. The country thoroughly implemented a nationwide lockdown and social distancing—doing well enough that it now is starting to relax some restrictions.
Inside Germany, however, the picture is more complicated.  After a period of great solidarity, including mainstream opposition parties, the national government and the individual states now are taking initial steps to return some elements of normal life and deciding how quickly that can proceed. Is it time, or as Chancellor Merkel warned on April 23, is the country still on “thin ice” requiring a cautious approach?
There are also questions about the European and global dimensions of the crisis, including the globalized economy and critical supply chains.  In sum, we are all struggling to conceive what the world after the pandemic will look like.
On this episode of The Zeitgeist, Jeff Rathke is joined by Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health. In recent months, Jens Spahn has been one of the principal faces of Germany as it grapples with COVID-19 at home and internationally.  He is someone keenly aware of the interaction between politics, economics, and public health. They discuss the interconnected public health measures that Germany is pursuing and how Germany as a federal system is managing the balance between federal decision-making and the responsibilities of the Länder.

Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS
Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health

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