What looks over me means

Look at you, look at me: who looks at the children?

In her guest article, lawyer Clara Steinhardt is annoyed about how we deal with children during the pandemic fight.

There was a corona march in my child's kindergarten in March. In my son's group, almost all of the children and teachers were ill, as were the families, including a pregnant woman. Infections reappeared in the facility last week. Does that upset anyone - apart from those affected? No. Most recently, politicians frankly admitted that the openings would increase the infections among children. At the same time it says: Anyone who wants can protect themselves with an FFP2 mask. The fact is that this is not the case for young children and their parents.

Small children will become infected in kindergartens and schools because they cannot wear FFP2 masks. Air filter systems are not installed; Educational staff not required to vaccinate. Parents have to take notice of this impotently, because the little ones themselves will probably not be vaccinated until 2022. So keep the children at home longer?

In addition to the social costs and missed educational opportunities, which parents are not indifferent to, they are now coming under further pressure. First, there is classroom teaching again. Secondly, very few employers will take into account that children are looked after at home despite being open. A real right to paid (partial) time off for parents in order to alleviate the multiple burden caused by the pandemic was never seriously discussed. Children will infect their parents who are willing to vaccinate, but who are still unvaccinated due to a lack of prioritization.

Dangerous development

It's shocking that children's health is so neglected. Now that the older generation has been vaccinated, the solidarity is over. Children and parents will be disproportionately affected by the high incidence in a partially immune population. This dangerous development is almost provoked by openings, although it is now known that the virus can pose a danger to children: PIMS, diabetes and long covid can permanently destroy their health. Children depend on adults to protect them from suffering. Everyone who now pushes through the openings must be aware of the danger this means for the little ones.

Countries like New Zealand or Finland are successfully using a low-incidence strategy to show that there is another way. Why doesn't Austria pull itself together one last time for the children? A short but stricter lockdown than last would push the incidence so far that, with moderate precautionary measures and rigid contact tracing, sustainable openings would be possible that would not endanger the unvaccinated children either. Last summer showed us how well it is to live with a low incidence as a result of a tough lockdown.

We do not know what negative consequences a corona infection can have for the many years of life that our children still have to face. Who is responsible for any lifelong impairments? Twenty years from now, chronically ill young people may demand coming to terms with the past and blame their parents for not protecting them adequately during the pandemic. Probably none of those who are really responsible will be in office anymore. (Clara Steinhardt, 5.5.2021)

Clara Steinhardt is a lawyer and mother of two small children.