“It is astonishing that a third of the population does not follow scientific evidence. Partly this is down to certain laziness and complacency of Germans,” Sauer said in rare public comments to Italian newspaper La Repubblica and picked up by Die Welt.
The chancellor’s husband also slammed those, doctors and scientists included, who have an “ideological reaction to what they consider a vaccination dictatorship.”
Sauer, who is a quantum chemistry professor, also expressed hope that the pandemic would prompt an interest in science among new generations.
“It would be nice if many would be interested in science and decide to study it, there is a need,” he said.
On Monday, Merkel herself reportedly called Germany’s COVID-19 situation “highly dramatic” and expressed support for tougher measures, despite mass protests around Europe prompted by already existing restrictions.
Germany, along with a number of other European countries including Austria and Slovakia, is now facing a record surge in COVID numbers.
Health Minister Jens Spahn warned on Monday that by winter’s end almost everyone in Germany would be “vaccinated, cured or dead.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that Americans avoid travelling to Germany and Denmark because of the deteriorating epidemiological situation.