Local news translated – Jan. 9, 2023

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Jan. 9, 2023  

Is the pandemic over? – “COVID is good for surprises”

Can the COVID pandemic be declared over? A normality is taking hold in private and public life, but still many citizens worry, especially people from risk groups. Where do we stand? Karlin Stark, head of the health department at the Ludwigsburg district office, urges caution.

Virologist Christian Drosten has said, “The pandemic is over.” Is that how you see it?

“Yes. Due to the now high disease figures combined with the vaccination effects, the population is no longer unprotected. COVID is becoming endemic in most regions of the world.”

Policymakers seem to be focusing on contagion. Should we still be afraid of contagion?

“The endemic initial situation should not hide the fact: COVID can still be a serious disease. This means that it is not possible to become infected without risk. The virus can change its transmissibility as well as the type and severity of the disease that is caused. However, people with risk factors can reduce their respective risk by updating their vaccination protection and by behaving. COVID has been good for a surprise on several occasions: if a “problem variant” occurs by spring or summer, it could change the assessment.”

Fear played a big role during the pandemic. Some measures, such as outdoor assembly bans or G2 regulations in retail stores with free access in crowded supermarkets, seemed almost absurd and were sometimes overturned by courts. Which policy mistakes were the biggest? 

“Afterwards, it’s always easy to criticize the policies that were enacted. Since I myself experienced the decision-making processes in the first year of the pandemic “up close” during my time as head of the state health department, I know how complex and controversial the discussions were at the time. I wholeheartedly supported the decision to implement the first lockdown in February 2020.”

Are the children the losers?

“In retrospect, I see the closures of childcare facilities and schools as critical. They certainly prevented infections, but the consequences for the development of children who are now missing one or two years of normal kindergarten or school time were not sufficiently considered or were underestimated. We are seeing increased concentration and behavioral problems in school enrollment examinations.”

Recently, the vice president of the Bundestag, Katrin Göring-Eckhardt (Greens), spoke of the need for politicians to address vaccination side effects, saying that they do exist. What is your opinion?

The side effects and complications in temporal connection with vaccinations are recorded and continuously evaluated by the Paul Ehrlich Institute. The reports on them are published. There are side effects and in rare cases they are severe or very severe.

Do reports like the arte documentary “Vaccination – the whole story” shake your confidence that vaccines are thoroughly researched before they are approved?

“In principle, our approval system is designed to ensure that drugs are thoroughly investigated before they are approved. In principle, I believe in the existing system and that it makes sense and works. Unfortunately, abuse can never be completely ruled  out.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 5, 2023)


Fire at “Herdweg” (road outside of Panzer Kas., Boeblingen) – Gas bottles explode in Pizzeria (Monte Cassino)

At about 12:50 p.m. on Friday, Jan 6, a fire broke out in a restaurant in Böblingen (Monte Cassino behind Panzer Kas.). According to initial information from the fire department, the fire broke out in a wooden annex next to the pizzeria in Herdweg. The gas cylinders stored inside exploded. The fire department was in large-scale operation. For the duration of the operation, the Herdweg was closed by the police. At the time of the fire nobody was in the restaurant, and no one got injured. The cause is still unclear. The damage is estimated at around 150,000 euros.  (BB/Sindelfinger Zeitung, Jan 7, 2023)


Traffic in (Stuttgart) -Bad Cannstatt – Traffic collapse looms in Neckarvorstadt

Lots of traffic and little space, almost 4000 people live in B.C. and have had to cope with these conditions for years. Now, traffic chaos threatens the Cannstatt district for a good year and a half starting in 2023. The residents of Krefelder Strasse will be particularly affected. This is because, in the course of the conversion measures for around 200 million euros at the Münster power plant (we reported), Neckartalstrasse will have to be closed to traffic heading out of town between the intersections with Voltastrasse and Haldenstrasse. This section of road will be needed for construction traffic for about one and a half years. As a result, the city wants to reroute traffic into the city from Haldenstrasse via Krefelder Strasse to Voltastrasse.

The eco-social camp of the local council also has another variant up its sleeve. It plans to leave the traffic on the Neckartalstraße in the direction of the city. In the direction of Münster, vehicles are to be routed via Haldenstrasse, with a one-way street being set up between Brückenstrasse and Krefelder Strasse. Truck traffic will be prohibited between Aachener Straße and Krefelder Straße and instead be diverted widely via Löwentorstraße. “Loss of capacity and longer distances for motorists are to be accepted during the construction period,” the petitioners said. (Stuttgarter

Nachrichten, Jan 8)

absence of one or the other.   On February 13, 2023, traditionally again a Monday, all donors are again invited to the next od drive in the town hall.  Nevertheless, the appeal of the Red Cross remains unaffected: A high blood donor readiness is of elementary importance for the supply of the clinics. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 21)