Virologist Prof. Streeck inspires BIS – Sovereignty and balance instead of fear
Students of Bavarian International School (BIS) experience corona keynote and discuss with well-known virologist Prof. Dr. med. Hendrik Streeck
More sovereignty, balance and hope instead of irrational fear - this was Prof. Dr. Hendrik Streeck's core statement on dealing with the corona virus. The well-known virologist and medical doctor inspired around 170 students from grades 10 and 11 of Bavarian International School (BIS) with a keynote and question and answer session. Other classes and parents followed the event in the auditorium via livestream. The 43-year-old professor of virology from Bonn emphasised his proposal of a traffic light system for dealing with COVID-19, called for more individual responsibility in society and for better funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Instead of looking only at the pure infection figures, other criteria such as the availability of intensive care beds should be included in the reaction patterns. "The traffic light system is a pragmatic way to deal with the virus in a more sovereign, open and balanced way, instead of having to shut down an entire country again," said Prof. Streeck. The head of the Institute of Virology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn stressed that the virus would not simply disappear again and that people would have to be prepared to accept the virus as part of their lives for an unforeseeable period of time. "COVID-19 is a serious virus, but we should not overdramatise it either. The risk for the individual person is low," said Prof. Streeck. Every 5th infection proceeds without any symptoms, the mortality rate is on average 0.36%. Fear is therefore a bad advisor, especially since fear is irrational in this situation. "The most dangerous part of the flight is the way to the airport by taxi. Nevertheless, many people are more afraid of flying."
Asked about the liberal approach to the virus in Sweden, Hendrik Streeck openly said: "Sweden made the mistake of not protecting people in elderly people's homes and nursing homes well in the beginning, which unfortunately led to high death rates. But society had been made more responsible and people were asked to deal with the virus responsibly. We can now see how infection rates and corona-related deaths have fallen significantly in Sweden. I support the idea of working with commandments instead of prohibitions – precisely because nobody can predict how long the virus will remain and when a scientifically tested vaccine will be available".
When asked what measures students should take when dealing with Corona, the renowned scientist explained: "You have to think of each person as a small spray bottle that constantly produces small droplets. Therefore, everyday masks, hygiene and distance are very good rules of conduct. The hygiene concept also includes regular airing of rooms". Whether air filter systems make sense has to be assessed from room to room, from school to school.
Impressed by the students
After the event, which lasted around one and a half hours, the virologist was enthusiastic about the dialogue with the BIS students: "I am impressed by the quality, depth and foresight of the questions – and in return, I also took away a lot of inspiration and an exciting perspective from the students' perspective.
The event was hosted by BIS Head of School and Executive Board Dr Chrissie Sorenson: "I would like to thank Prof. Dr. Hendrik Streeck very much for his visit to Bavarian International School and his clear, groundbreaking and also hopeful impulses. Events such as these underline once again that BIS consistently welcomes outstanding personalities to our school in order to offer our students and the entire community first-hand expert knowledge."
Planned events include Global Dignity Day on 21 October 2020, Careers Day in February 2021 and the BeInSpired City Talk on values in April 2021.