Secret documents reveal Germany’s public health agency warned lockdowns cause more harm than good

By Dénes Albert
11 Min Read

Following a long legal battle, Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), has released the confidential protocols that show the RKI was aware that “lockdowns cause more harm than good” and evidence for “making masks mandatory was lacking.”

The RKI voiced concerns in 2020 that shutting down German society could lead to increased child mortality and other negative outcomes. The RKI experts also disagreed with the implementation of FFP2 face masks, saying there was a lack of data to support such a measure.

“Active communication would make sense in order to make clear why the RKI does not recommend this measure,” notes the minute regarding implementing FFP2 mask regulations. The agency even notes in the minutes that it would tell the public it did not support FFP2 mask regulations, but notably, the agency never did so despite mass protests against mandatory masks and other harsh measures.

The 2,500 pages of documents also contain a passage noting that experts warned that lockdowns could “do more harm than good,” with experts citing lockdowns in Africa and the negative outcomes seen there.

The documents have revealed that German politicians dramatized the situation, contrary to the opinions of experts. This was done presumably in order to implement coercive measures and restrict basic rights. There are now calls to release the rest of the documents, as more than a thousand passages are still redacted, representing a third of the total text dating from meeting notes from the “crisis unit” taken between February 2020 and April 2021.

The release of the documents has sent shockwaves through Germany and led even left-wing parties, such as the Greens, to call for a “comprehensive review” of coronavirus policy. Other parties, like the Alternative for Germany (AfD), are calling for more action, including a commission investigation.

Politicians are urging the RKI to lift the redactions and make all findings available to the public, and further court proceedings are pending. In the meantime, debate continues to rage, with the #RKIFiles tag on X already generating 45,000 posts.

An example of just a couple of posts shows the anger many Germans still feel towards the coronavirus-era policies put in place.

“The Bavarian state government tortured children with masks until spring 2022 — even in physical education classes. Not because there was scientific evidence for it, but because Markus Söder liked the role of coronavirus hardliner. #RKIFiles,” wrote one X user.

Another showed video of police brutalizing protesters demonstrating against Covid-19 measures, writing:

“It’s good that the RKI protocols are included in the broader discussion! But there can be no such thing as cheap forgiveness. With the coronavirus, 2/3 of Germans became massively aggressive against 1/3. The handcuffs must click on the main criminals.”

Virologist reacts to report

Virologist Klaus Stöhr, once the WHO pandemic commissioner, said the revealed protocols once again show that the “risk assessment was not based on data.” According to Stöhr, “his hair stood on end when it came to (Germany’s) pandemic plan.”

Stöhr also commented on the fact that the RKI protocols uncovered that experts were telling the government that there is little data to support widespread mask adoption for the public.

“And the fact that what was known about FFP2 masks was completely ignored is just two small building blocks.” There was “a lot more data available where it was seen that the work was not based on evidence,” he said.

The scientist referred to “curfews, border closures, 2G/3G (areas restricted based on vaccination status), and the side effects of lockdowns” as further examples of this. Stöhr noted that “these are all things that were known – including that the vaccines could not halt the spread of the virus.” He said that the vaccines could not end the pandemic, and it was “clear from the beginning that the vaccine couldn’t do that.”

He is now calling for a commission or review process to avoid the mistakes made by the government during the Covid-19 era in the future.

Virologist Hendrik Streeck, who was appointed to the RKI expert council, also stated: “I’m very surprised that entire pages about vaccinations, for example, were blacked out,” he said to Welt. “And I wonder what it says, why the public shouldn’t see it.”

Lauterbach in panic mode?

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) reacted with horror to the findings in the report. As federal health minister during a significant portion of the pandemic, he has often been the top target of criticism from those opposed to Germany’s Covid-19 policies.

“Enlightenment is good, but we must not allow conspiracy theories to arise on social media through the interference of foreign governments,” he wrote on the X platform. Why he referred to “foreign governments” remained unclear, but when cornered, left-wing politicians often resort to claims of “foreign interference” and “Russia.”

Despite calls for a review of policy, Lauterbach is desperate to avoid this outcome and is also openly rejecting a commission, as the AfD and BSW parties are calling for.

Lauterbach claims this would only benefit “a small group of politicians, but also people who perhaps represent radical ideas in other areas.” He claims they would use the findings “to politicize against the state.”

Some from the Greens also resorted to claims of “foreign influence” following the release of the RKI protocols.

Green health politician Janosch Dahmen, one of the most aggressive supporters of extreme Covid-19 policies, said: “It seems to me that the virulent spread of such untruthful rumors is also the result of the influence of foreign intelligence services on our society against the background of Russia’s war against Ukraine, to further divide and render politics incapable of action.”

The AfD, FDP and BSW want an investigation

The AfD, Free Democrats and BSW parties all want a more thorough investigation than a simple “review.”

“The public has a right to know what really happened back then,” said the health policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group, Martin Sichert, regarding the redactions still in the report. He appealed to the other parliamentary groups: “Take a look at the protocols of the RKI crisis team and set up a coronavirus investigation committee with us.”

Even the FDP, which is in a governing coalition with the ruling government, is calling for a more thorough investigation. FDP vice-president Wolfgang Kubicki announced that he would “work to ensure that the entire basis for decision-making at this time becomes public.” He also said it is becoming increasingly clear “that the Robert Koch Institute for Health Policy served as a scientific façade for former Minister Jens Spahn and probably also Karl Lauterbach.”

Some Greens are conciliatory

Some left-wing politicians believe some kind of review is necessary to improve “social cohesion.”

“It would be good for social cohesion if there were a review of coronavirus policy with a little distance,” said the Green parliamentary group’s legal policy spokesperson, Helge Limburg, to Welt newspaper. “This could be a commission of inquiry, a commission of experts, or another form of debate that signals to people: We are not simply brushing aside the drastic measures of that time.”

Health and budget politician Paula Piechotta said: “Almost exactly four years after the first pandemic measures were introduced in Germany, it is now overdue to address the mistakes of pandemic policy in a wide range of areas, from health and education to financial policy, in a transparent and timely manner for everyone.”

Her party colleague, Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, also said a review of the coronavirus era was necessary but was short on specifics.

“We should now initiate a phase in which we reflect on the difficult pandemic period with all its effects,” he told the Bild newspaper. The German government at the time had to make far-reaching decisions quickly in an unprecedented situation during the pandemic.

“Certainly mistakes were made, but it would also have been a mistake not to make a decision,” he continued. “I think we should have the courage to learn the lessons, review processes, and evaluate the impact.”

In retrospect, it is fair to ask “whether the advisory bodies for politicians really covered the diversity of perspectives in science,” said Green MP Dieter Janecek. “For example, some encroachments on fundamental rights were certainly questionable: Unvaccinated people were not allowed into restaurants or swimming pools, even though it was already clear that the vaccine did not prevent transmission. Children and young people were unduly disadvantaged.”

Share This Article