Daily Host Nation Stories for June 11, 2020
From now on, meetings of ten people are allowed in public again
In Baden-Württemberg people from several households will again be allowed to meet in public. “In future, people will be allowed to meet in public places in a group with members of up to two households or up to ten people.” Will it be possible to meet with friends on Karlshöhe or in the castle garden who come from ten different households? Yes, says Rudi Hoogvliet, spokesman for the state government. The passage in the state’s Corona Ordinance, which will apply from June 10, means “one can meet ten people from completely different households.”
This applies to private parties in restaurants. From now on, up to 20 people from several households are allowed to meet in the private room – if all persons are related to each other, there is no longer any personal restriction.
Private celebrations in restaurants or event locations such as weddings or christenings are also permitted again with an appropriate hygiene concept – with a maximum of 99 guests, who do not have to be related to each other. However, the rules of distance apply at such celebrations, and dancing and singing are also taboo. The organizer of the celebration must record the contact addresses of all guests. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 10)
Why are school and daycare openings taking so long?
Shops are open, restaurants are serving guests again. A cool beer in the beer garden? No problem. The corona measures are relaxed. Thousands are celebrating a boat party on Berlin’s Landwehrkanal, tens of thousands are going to demonstrate against racism in several German cities – without any distance rules. The Bundesliga is playing again and the holidays are saved. But one area of life seems to be irrevocably at the very bottom of the opening policy: Schools and daycare centers. Millions of children still spend their days at home, have to be trained, entertained and cared for by their parents.
However, the sources for the assumption that children are similarly likely or even more likely than adults to be infected with the disease are thin. A study published in advance by researchers led by Charité chief virologist Christian Drosten at the end of April came to exactly this conclusion. However, due to corona restrictions, it was not conducted under real conditions but under laboratory conditions and had not undergone the critical review of other scientists, the “peer review process,” due to time pressure.
But are there any indications that the suspicions are confirmed? In fact, the daily reports of the RKI on the development of the pandemic contain a development that could be worrying. After schools and day-care centers were partially reopened in the first federal states, the proportion of new infections among young people aged 0 to 19 years has risen sharply. While their share of all new infections was still below 10 percent at the beginning of May, it has now risen to more than 20 percent. Although the total number of new infections has fallen during this period from around 1,000 a day to now around 350 a day, the number of new infections is still very low. However, the number of new infections among children and adolescents does not follow this trend and only fell slightly from 85 per day to just under 70 per day. (NTV, June 10)
Corona-App to cost 20 million euros
The corona tracing app developed by the government together with SAP and Deutsche Telekom costs around 20 million euros, according to information from the German government. Government circles said on Thursday that the app would remain on schedule to be presented next week and then also be made available for download by users. The running operation will cost around 2.5 to 3.5 million euros, including two hotlines. (Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 11)
Data experts warn against fraudulent corona apps
Data security experts warn against fraudulent corona warning apps that look deceptively real but spy on user data. The experts at the Californian company Anomali announced that there are currently at least a dozen such apps worldwide. Once installed, the apps are a gateway for malware or access the users’ data. (NTV, June 11)
Mortality among people in need of care up to 50 times higher
People in need of care are particularly at risk in Germany due to the corona pandemic. According to projections by researchers at the University of Bremen, 60 percent of all Covid-19 deaths in Germany were inpatients in nursing homes or outpatients cared for by nursing services. Of all those infected with the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 nationwide, this group accounted for 8.5 percent, the University of Bremen announced on Wednesday. “Nursing homes are the most important place with regard to Covid-19 deceased, although only one percent of the population lives in this form of housing,” co-author Heinz Rothgang emphasized in the announcement. The mortality rate among people in need of care is more than 50 times higher than in the rest of the population, he said. (Zeit.de, June 11)
RKI: 555 new coronavirus cases in Germany
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 555 to 185,416. 26 more people have died within 24 hours as a result of Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 8755. (Robert Koch Institute, June 11)
Tour operator for corona test before each flight
The head of the tour operator Alltours, Willi Verhuven, has spoken out in favor of corona tests for all air travelers before departure. He believes that flying is relatively safe because the air in the cabin is very well filtered and regularly exchanged. “For even greater safety, I would absolutely welcome it if all passengers were to have a corona test before their flight for the safety of all,” he told the “Rheinische Post” newspaper. With regard to the new start in the travel industry, Verhuven said: “We expect to reach 50 percent of the previous year’s level in the summer. Especially the Canary Islands, Greece, Majorca and Turkey are in great demand. People go there where they find it nice and can expect safety. (Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 11)
Virologist criticizes quick lockdown in Germany
Virologist Hendrik Streeck has criticized the German corona lockdown with its serious consequences. Streeck told the newspaper “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (Wednesday) that the number of infections had already dropped after the ban on major events. “I would then have made further measures, such as contact restrictions, dependent on the actual course of events, also to see how the individual restrictions work and whether additional steps are really necessary.” Instead, Germany had gone into lockdown too quickly because, in addition to concerns about hospital capacity, there had been some public pressure.
He did not believe “that by the end of the year we will have had more deaths in Germany than in other years,” said the director of the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital in Bonn. He pointed to the average age of the pandemic deaths of 81, which is rather above the average life expectancy.
In the USA, the number of cases had also risen so strongly because Americans continued to work with coughs and colds. “There is not this kind of sick leave as there as in Germany,” said Streeck who has spent nine years researching in the USA. As a result, there were considerably more infections than in Germany.
The physician is also skeptical about the benefits of the announced corona app as well as mass tests and mandatory masks. The app comes too late. Mass tests are expensive and are not worthwhile “if we only see one positive result per 100 tests.” The reasons why doctors warned against wearing masks at the beginning of the pandemic were still valid, Streeck warned, even if there was no longer any question of it now: “People are folding the masks into their trouser pockets, touching them all the time and strapping them to their mouths again and again for two weeks, probably unwashed. It’s a wonderful breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 10)
Major demonstration on the Wasen in commemoration of George Floyd
Once again, people in Stuttgart will protest against racism and discrimination on Saturday. About 4,000 people have registered for the rally “Solidarity with George Floyd.” In order to ensure that the expected crowd will be able to keep the distance rules that apply due to the corona pandemic, the group will demonstrate at the Cannstatter Wasen. This is currently partly occupied by the Kulturwasen series of events. But in the area behind it, towards Talstraße, there is enough space for that great number of participants, a spokeswoman for the city of Stuttgart said on Wednesday.
The rules of distance had been partially broken at the first anti-racism demonstration “Black lives matter – Silent Protest” last Saturday, as far more people came than the organizing team had expected, namely several thousand. The team had marked standing room by a distance on the square in front of the theatre. Due to the large influx, however, the meeting was assigned a new location in the Stuttgart Schlossgarten (castle garden) where there were no markings.
The demonstration was peaceful. Among other things, they marched to the innercity district and chanted “All Stuttgart hates police.” The organizers of the anti-racism demonstration clearly distanced themselves from these actions and praised the police who supported them during the rally.(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 10)
Additional pop-up bike lanes added in Stuttgart
At the beginning of the week, two of the temporary bicycle lanes that are to give cyclists more space in the future suddenly appeared in Stuttgart. With one subtle difference: the lanes marked with yellow paint in Theodor-Heuss-Straße and Holzgartenstraße will remain in place at least until October.
This is because on Theodor-Heuss-Strasse, one of the main traffic streets in the state capital, the lanes are to be expanded sooner or later into a “Protected Bikelane,” i.e. a bicycle lane that is structurally separated from car traffic, as part of Stuttgart’s further development into a bicycle-friendly city. In the long term, cyclists and motorists should therefore share the road.
According to City Council Luigi Pantisano, “It is very important for bicycle traffic to move closer to the city center. Residents who want to go into the city must have the option of taking the bike instead of the car. There’s no point in having cycle lanes that run through side streets, and you end up taking longer by bike than by car,” says Pantisano, who therefore finds the pop-up bike lanes “super.”
At the beginning of the week, several pictures appeared on Twitter that show how motorists overtake unauthorized on the bicycle lane. According to a spokeswoman, the Stuttgart police have also received several complaints from cyclists. “Of course, this must not happen and should be prevented in the future,” says Pantisano and adds: “People who ride their bicycles must be able to be sure that they can use the lanes undisturbed and that they do not put themselves in danger there.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 10)