‘It Was a Lot Worse Than I Imagined’: Berlin Left-Wing District Mayor Who Intentionally Caught Coronavirus

BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 19: Almost empty Pariser Platz by the Brandenburg Gate on March 19, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Everyday life in Germany has become fundamentally altered as authorities tighten measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Public venues such as bars, clubs, museums, cinemas, schools, daycare centers …
Maja Hitij/Getty Images

A district mayor in German capital Berlin said that he “almost deliberately” infected himself with coronavirus in order to develop an immunity to the Chinese virus.

The District Mayor for Mitte in Berlin, Stephan von Dassel, defended his decision to purposefully catch the COVID-19 virus, saying that it would mean he would be able to continue working, while other politicians in the city would be forced to take sick leave.

“I was ill longer than I thought. I got infected almost on purpose to develop immunity and thought I’ll be a bit sick for three days and then I’ll be immune — I can’t catch it and won’t pass it on to anyone, but it was a lot worse than I imagined,” the German Green Party politician said per Deutsche Welle.

The 53-year-old added that he believed his decision to self-infect would act as a “contribution” to the goal of flattening the curve of infections in the country.

The move by Von Dassel drew criticism, as it directly contradicted the advice from the government to practise social distancing to slow the rate of coronavirus hospitalisations.

Von Dassel later claimed that his public statements were “misleading”, claiming that his decision was prompted after his partner, whom he lives with, caught the virus, adding that he will remain in quarantine until he is no longer infectious.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country’s social distancing measures would continue to be in place through the Easter holiday. The emergency measures were initially set to end on April 5th will now extend until at least April 19th.

“A pandemic doesn’t take a vacation,” Merkel said of the decision, adding that it is “much too early to think about loosening the restrictions”.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Germany has the fifth-most coronavirus infections in the world, with 80,641 confirmed cases and 997 deaths.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.