Local news translated – Dec 28, 2020

Daily Host Nation Update December 28, 2020 

Germany is currently under strict lockdown restrictions (to include curfews) until January 10.
Click here for details on how the Baden-Württemberg ordinance impacts the USAG Stuttgart community.

RKI reports almost 11,000 new infections in Germany

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports 10,976 new infections and 348 additional deaths in Germany on its website. Yesterday, there were 13,755 new infections and 356 deaths. According to the RKI data, more than 1.65 million people in Germany have now contracted the coronavirus, and 30,126 have died. The seven-day incidence drops to 157.8 from 161.3 the previous day. The figure indicates how many people per 100,000 population tested positive within seven days. The RKI points out that during the holidays and at the turn of the year, fewer tests and laboratory examinations as well as fewer transmissions of test results by the health offices are to be expected. (Robert Koch Institute, December 28)

Spontaneous applause for the first Corona vaccination

The first Corona vaccinations in the Böblingen district took place yesterday afternoon at the DRK nursing home in Sindelfingen on Wilhelm-Haspel-Strasse. Home resident Gertrud Kaiser received the first vaccination. ‘”I didn’t notice a thing,” was the reaction of 86-year-old Gertrud Kaiser when she was the first in the Böblingen district to be vaccinated against Corona by Dr. Markus Krautter of the Stuttgart Clinic. The vaccination team from Stuttgart, as well as employees of the German Red Cross care center spontaneously applauded. Even before she received the injection, the cheerful and lively Gertrud Kaiser, who has been living in the DRK care center in Sindelfingen for four years, joked that she was “normally not at all squeamish.” Dr. Krautter replied with a smile that he used a thin needle especially “so that it doesn’t hurt so much.” And he was right. (BBheute, December 28)

Education Minister wants to reopen elementary schools and daycare centers

Stuttgart- Education Minister Susanne Eisenmann wants to do her utmost to ensure that at least elementary schools and daycare centers reopen after January 10. “It is my strong desire that we reopen daycare centers and elementary schools, classes 5, 6 and 7 and those graduating – regardless of the incidence figures,” said the CDU politician to the German Press Agency in Stuttgart. Especially with younger children in elementary school, digital instruction is basically impossible, she said. “There is no substitute for face-to-face teaching.” She does not think much of extending or postponing the Christmas vacations. (Stuttgart Zeitung, December 28)

Clarity soon on vaccine efficacy against the corona mutation

In one to two weeks, reliable data should be available on whether the vaccine currently distributed in Germany is also effective against the corona virus mutation that has emerged in the United Kingdom. “Based on the data available so far, it seems that the vaccine should still be effective,” Thomas Mertens, chairman of the Permanent Vaccination Commission (Stiko) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), told ZDF’s “Morgenmagazin.” However, he added, studies are still needed, which are currently being conducted by Biontech, the manufacturer of the vaccine, among others. “We think and hope that we will have the results in about one to two weeks, so that we can then say for sure how it works,” Mertens continued. (Zdf, December 28)

Non-Corona News

Riedsee Lake to undergo rehabilitation

A layer of mud has built up on the bottom of the Riedsee lake in Stuttgart-Möhringen over the years. According to the city of Stuttgart, this is a normal sign of aging in lakes. However, the mud leads to reduced water quality due to oxygen-consuming degradation processes in the water. To reduce the likelihood of algae blooms and oxygen shortages during hot summer periods, part of the Riedsee is now to be desludged. To this end, the lake will be partially drained and then professionally fished. The measure has been coordinated with the fishing rights holder, the city administration reports. After clearing the lake of sludge, it will be dammed up again and the fish will be put back into the lake. While the lake is drained, access will be limited and walking on exposed areas in the lake will be prohibited. There is a danger of getting stuck in the muddy sediments. Adults are asked to make children aware of the restriction. Preliminary tests carried out on behalf of the civil engineering office showed no contamination of the sludge, so that the sludge can probably be temporarily stored on municipal land in the vicinity of the lake until spring 2021 for drying. However, due to the organic components at the bottom of the lake, it could start to produce an odor. This will be handled when the lake has reached its level again, furthermore, the odor development is not dangerous. The work is scheduled to be carried out in January 2021. (Stuttgart Nachrichten, December 27)

Black Forest inundated with day-trippers

A few centimeters of snow were enough to draw many winter enthusiasts to the Black Forest, causing traffic chaos and violations of the Corona ordinance in popular places over the Christmas holidays. Hundreds of people flocked to the community of Dobel (Calw district) over the course of Saturday for sledding and hiking, according to Pforzheim police on Sunday. Parking lots were crowded and traffic jams formed. More than 180 illegally parked cars received warning fines. Task forces also addressed groups that did not comply with the minimum distances. The Pforzheim police appealed to the citizens to comply with the applicable contact restrictions. “Stay away from crowded destinations!” (Stuttgart Nachrichten, December 28)

Fir tree has many uses beyond Christmas

Fir needles add a spicy aroma to dishes with mushrooms or game. When cooking, however, you should not simply throw them into the pan. Instead, let the needles dry for a few days and grind them finely in a mortar. Since they contain essential oils and many important vital substances, they are also excellent for a tea infusion. For this, you can either put the needles together with the branch in hot water or cut them off beforehand and squeeze them a little, so that the ingredients dissolve better in the water. The trunk and branches of the fir tree are especially useful in the garden. With the help of a shredder, they can be processed into mulch, which can serve as frost protection for soil and plants. If you don’t have such a device, you can cut thin branches with pruning shears, and an axe can help with large trunks. By the way, pine needles also do well in the vegetable patch, as they keep slugs away. A Christmas tree can be chopped up and used for firewood, but it needs to first be stored in a dry place for some time. Otherwise, the moisture will cause a lot of smoke and a sooty stove. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, December 28)

Police arrest brother and companion of imam

The killing of a 26-year-old imam from Pakistan a week ago in Ebersbach/Fils (Baden-Württemberg) may be the work of his partner and brother. According to the autopsy, the young imam was killed by massive blows to the head at around 6 p.m. on the Monday before Christmas while walking on a dirt path along the Fils River. Police have arrested the two suspects, and they are now in custody. The investigation is ongoing. (Canstatter Zeitung, December 28)