There are people who, shortly before their death, think of Karl Lauterbach Think. It's because of the bow tie. "I've even gotten flies from estates. People have written to me saying that my late husband was very fond of me and left me the bow tie," says the SPD politician and health expert at a Corona breakfast in a Berlin cafe.
Then post mortem parcels with fashionable heirlooms arrived at his home. Exotic cross ties, some made of wood, others of glass. Lauterbach never put them on, but added them to his incredibly large collection.
But where is his trademark today? The 59-year-old looks so naked at the neck. Lauterbach without a bow tie is like Trump without hair, like Merkel without a rhombus.
The solution to the riddle: Lauterbach has condemned the fly for the time being with a heavy heart. He wants to come across as more dynamic, appeal to a younger target group. "It somehow no longer fits in with the times," he said of his five daughters to be lectured. Lauterbach looked with the bow tie, the slightly protruding thin hair and the rimless glasses on some, as if he had sprung directly from the "Feuerzangenbowle" with Heinz Ruhmann. A restless professor. A Gyro Gearloose of federal politics. At the same time, the Rhinelander is always wide awake in the truest sense of the word.
Since the outbreak Corona pandemic he sits up late into the night at his computer. He reads scientific studies about Covid-19 and the consequences. After that he leaves his more than 200.000 followers share his knowledge on Twitter. Or he talks to journalists on the phone. Or he sits with Lanz, Illner, Maischberger, Plasberg on television. Does he cultivate his vanity? Lauterbach rejects this. "I never go on a talk show without a specific message."
Karl Lauterbach teaches as a visiting professor at Harvard
Lauterbach, who grew up in Duren near Aachen, is the only epidemiologist in the Bundestag, where lawyers and tax consultants set the tone. There are a few physicians. Chancellery Minister Helge Braun (CDU) was an anesthesiologist. But hardly anyone in parliament is likely to be as deep in the subject matter as Lauterbach.
For the SPD, he has been instrumental in every health care reform for many years. Since 2008 Lauterbach Visiting professor for health management at the famous Harvard University in Boston, where he also studied. Once or twice a year he lectures at Harvard, in Corona times by video. Incidentally, his symbiotic relationship with flies began during a study program in Texas. At the university in San Antonio, it was compulsory to wear a tie, bow tie or New Age amulets over your shirt, which were all the rage at the time.
Last year, Lauterbach, who has won his constituency in Cologne-Leverkusen directly for the SPD four times in a row since 2005, then went all out. After Andrea Nahles resigns, he wants to become party leader together with environmental expert Nina Scheer. The SPD must radically focus on environmental and climate protection in order to remain relevant. "I have become greener and greener." The party chairmanship mission fails miserably.
Karl Lauterbach praises work of German government during Corona pandemic
Lauterbach/Scheer duo flies out with 14.6 percent in first round of membership vote. He admits that he has struggled with this for a long time. This also applies to the grand coalition, which he declares politically dead and wants to end in 2019. Now he admits that the black-red government is doing a good job in the pandemic: "I don't know of any other country, perhaps Japan, that has managed it as well as we have. The grand coalition worked almost perfectly in dealing with the first wave."
Meanwhile, the left-wing Social Democrat is also full of praise for Olaf Scholz, with whom he used to cross paths more often. "Personally, I am firmly convinced that he would be an extremely good candidate for chancellor."As finance minister, Scholz had contributed enormously to the fact that no panic had broken out in the country with the rescue packages for the economy and employees. Without this economic security aspect, the polarization of society would have been much stronger, and the AfD could have profited from this in turn. "Olaf Scholz has done an extremely good job. He is the right candidate."
Lauterbach himself has more clout in the media than most SPD ministers at the moment. Along with star virologist Christian Drosten and the chancellor, he is one of that shrinking Corona faction in the country that has long been publicly against relaxations stemmed and is still on guard now.
He accused NRW Minister President Armin Laschet of having waited too long with the lockdown in Gutersloh. When he criticized the early re-start of the Bundesliga, ex-DFB team boss Rudi Voller pounced on Lauterbach in a rage, as he once did on reporter Waldemar Hartmann after the national team's Iceland disgrace. Lauterbach is attacked from radical circles and by conspiracy theorists for his hardline positions. Like Drosten, he received death threats: "This does not pass me by without a trace."
Does he feel like a lonely admonisher in the desert? "There is no glory in prevention – there is no glory for prevention," replies Lauterbach. Epidemiology, the scientific analysis of the spread of mass diseases, is only as good as the population participates, he said. "If prevention works, the epidemiologist is seen as the one who was too scared and banned too much. If it doesn't work, it's a failure." Germany needs not only mass tests to get well through a second wave in the fall. He considers late effects such as dementia, which hardly anyone talks about, to be even more dangerous.
– Late effects: What the coronavirus does to the body
The coronavirus could massively attack small vessels in the brain, lungs and kidneys. "Sars-CoV-2 holes the quasi, they will also never be properly tight again."Lauterbach speaks of aging as if in fast motion in the case of severe courses in these three organs. "They are then missing ten years at 70, out the back."He compares the fate of older Corona survivors with long-term damage to a car in the workshop: "The car still looks good, but we have problems with the engine, the transmission and the brakes."
And how does he keep himself fit with his workload?? The willowy Professor Dr. Dr. Pays meticulous attention to his diet and plays Table tennis. No ping-pong in the park, but "already at regional league level". The attacking player trains with the brother of national coach Jorg Robkopf. Lauterbach's best shot is topspin on defensive undercut. His critics must be prepared to keep him on the ball for a long time to come.
And the fly? Over and out? Then he weakens and says with a smile: "I don't want to rule out the possibility of wearing bow ties again from time to time."