UPDATE: A previous version of this article claimed a leaked report drafted by a scientific panel appointed by Germany’s Interior Ministry declared the covid-19 pandemic a “global false alarm.” This is incorrect.
The document was not leaked from Germany’s Interior Ministry, nor was it solicited or prepared by any unit of the Interior Ministry.
As HealthFeedback.org explain, the document in question “represents the private opinion of a single ministry employee and several independent scientists who publicly disseminated it on Ministry letterhead without authorization.”
The German government does not agree with the assessments presented in this personal analysis and the document cannot be considered a leaked government document.
Stephan Kohn, a politologist and employee of Germany’s Interior Ministry in the KM 4 department for the Protection of Critical Infrastructures, authored the document, however his analysis was not requested by the Interior Ministry, as our original article claims, nor was his analysis carried out within the realms of his responsibility. .
Germany’s Interior Ministry issued a press release on May 10 disavowing the report, stating that Kohn had disseminated his “private opinion on the corona crisis management” and that the “elaboration was carried out outside the area of responsibility as well as without assignment and authorization”.
Healthfeedback.org provide further details regarding the timeline of events and the German government’s disavowal of the document in question:
Three days later, Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer addressed the issue in a press conference about border control measures instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seehofer pointed out that “a limit has been reached” because the employee had used “the office, the infrastructure, the name [of the Interior Minister]” to distribute his view. On 14 May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel further clarified at the German Parliament that the government did not agree with the assessments presented in the document. The employee has been suspended and is now undergoing disciplinary proceedings.
Our original article also incorrectly stated that “the report has been drafted by a scientific panel appointed by the Interior Ministry and composed by external medical experts” and Kohn himself misleadingly claims in his document that his analysis involved the collaboration of ten “high-ranking experts/scientists.”
However, as Healthfeedback.org point out:
“none of the collaborators were appointed by the Interior Ministry as the article states, nor do they serve as advisors to the Ministry. Furthermore, the panel did not include any virologists or epidemiologists, and some of the members had previously criticized the government’s management of COVID-19 based on unsupported or misleading arguments. One of the collaborators is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, but the institution clarified that he “has never been a member of the working groups that prepared Leopoldina’s three [now four] statements on the coronavirus pandemic. He is also currently not a member of any other working group or body of the Academy”.
In conclusion, the KM 4 Analysis of Crisis Management document authored by Stephan Kohn was not leaked from Germany’s Interior Ministry. The document in question was the private opinion of Kohn who solicited the opinion of several scientists without relevant expertise in epidemiology or virology. Kohn then used the Interior Ministry’s infrastructure to publicize his unsolicited and flawed analysis.
The claim that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “global false alarm”, as posited by Stephen Kohn, is currently unsupported.
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