Back to school: Germany

If the title suggests a movie with too many sequels, well, then the last bit might be true. This sequel is about Germany, and about Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim.

Mrs Nguyen-Kim, a 32-year old chemist, is the rising star of science communication in Germany. She has quickly gained popularity among young and old with her YouTube videos on the backgrounds of the corona pandemic. She is an excellent performer: her presentations are lively, comical, yet always knowledgeable and informative.

Her latest video is about the confusion in Germany about the rationale of opening up schools and kindergartens again. She analyzes the issues by addressing the 3 main questions:

  1. Are children less at risk for becoming sick?
  2. Are children less susceptible to infection?
  3. Are children less contagious?

Only the first question can today be answered with an unambiguous yes, as mrs Nguyen-Kim shows. She discusses the public debate about the study of Christian Drosten. Drosten, one of Germany’s leading virologists and a key advisor of the German government, concluded that children bear viral loads comparable to the ones of adults, a result questioned by his peers. This discussion has prompted German tabloid newspaper “BILD” to cast doubts on mr Drosten’s recommendations. In fact, on his entire reputation.

Nguyen-Kim now comes to his defense. She neatly emphasizes that science is always about debate and challenging, and does not refrain from criticizing the general contribution of media and politics in distorting the outcome of scientific work.

The video lasts 23 minutes, in German, and is worth every minute of it. See for yourself.