Local news translated – Monday, Mar 8, 2021

Germany is currently under strict lockdown restrictions, which include curfews.
Click here for details on how the Baden-Württemberg ordinance affects the USAG Stuttgart community.

Daily Host Nation Update, Mar 8, 2021

RKI reports 5011 new infections, number of deaths at the lowest level for the year
Public health departments in Germany have reported 5011 new corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). In addition, 34 deaths were recorded – a new low in 2021. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had reported 4732 new infections and 60 new deaths within one day. The seven-day incidence rate continues to rise: As of Monday morning, it stands at 68.0 nationwide – up from 66.1 the previous day. (Robert Koch Institute, March 8)

Thanks to the Corona rules: sales of cold remedies slump
As people are keeping their distance in Corona times and thus catching fewer colds, sales of over-the-counter medicines in Germany have plummeted. Bayer CEO Werner Baumann cites a market drop of more than 20 percent over last year for cold remedies – a development that also affects his company.

Procter & Gamble, Stada and Sanofi also reported losses, without giving specific figures. The companies are known for products such as “Wick,” “Grippostad,” “Mucosolvan” and “Alka-Seltzer Plus.

The pharmacy association ABDA told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that sales of over-the-counter medicines for colds, diarrhea and lice fell significantly in the first three quarters of 2020. The association referred to data from the market researcher Insight Health.(Dpa, March 8)

Family Physicians Association: Can vaccinate 2.5 million people per week
The national chairman of the German Family Physicians Association, Ulrich Weigeldt, is in favor of quickly involving family physicians and specialists in the vaccination process. “We are 50,000 family doctors, plus gynecologists and pediatricians and adolescents, who could also vaccinate parents,” Weigeldt told Wirtschaftswoche. “If each practice manages an average of ten patients a day, then we can certainly manage 2.5 million people a week.” Ntv, March 8)

Johnson & Johnson vaccine close to EU approval
U.S. pharmaceutical company Johson & Johnson’s vaccine could be approved for use in the European Union as early as March. On March 11, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will review the vaccine for use in the EU, EMA chief executive Christa Wirthumer-Hoche told a talk show on Austrian broadcaster ORF. “We expect a positive assessment and that the EU Commission will quickly grant approval.” In contrast, she said, there is not yet sufficient data for approval of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. She would strongly advise against national emergency approvals, the EMA chief said.(Ntv, March 8)

In Stuttgart, the number of quarantines increases
Since the state’s new, more strict quarantine regulations went into effect at the end of February, the number of people in domestic isolation has been rising “significantly” in the state capital. A spokesman for the city told our newspaper. Most recently, quarantine numbers almost halved from January (4700 cases) to February (2500 cases), he said. “In March, the trend is going up again,” the spokesman said.

The reason could be the new rules that apply when one of the virus mutations has been detected in an infected person. Then not only those who had direct contact must quarantine for 14 days, but also their household members. Even a negative test result does not change this.

Meanwhile, Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) considers the greater relaxation of the Corona lockdown for counties with low infection rates from Monday justifiable. At the same time, he warned in the state parliament against “shopping tourism” between the districts. One would pull the “emergency brake”, should the incidence rise locally over 100 new infections per 100 000 inhabitants in 7 days. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 7)

What restrictions apply in BW as of today?
Corona restrictions in Baden-Württemberg will be partially relaxed on Monday. For example, in counties with an incidence of less than 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, up to five people from two households will be allowed to meet again in the future, according to the state’s updated Corona ordinance published over the weekend. Children 14 and younger are not counted. Couples who do not live together will count as one household.

Retailers in the state”s Southwest region are also expected to benefit from several relaxations under the hygiene requirements, as long as regional incidences are below that 100 mark. For example, DIY stores, which were previously only allowed to open their gardening departments, will once again be allowed to sell their entire range of products, and bookstores will also be allowed to open.

Many other retailers that were previously not allowed to open their stores can now at least offer their customers purchases by appointment (Click & Meet) again.

Museums, galleries, memorials and zoological and botanical gardens are also allowed to reopen under certain conditions, as are beauty, nail, massage, tattoo and piercing studios, libraries and libraries.(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 7)

Here’s how the pandemic has changed waste generation in Stuttgart
Stuttgart – Corona masks thrown on sidewalks, in parks or in the bushes are probably the most visible sign: The pandemic has changed the amount of trash in the cities. In general, it can be said that since the beginning of the measures against the Corona pandemic, the littering of public space has increased. Household waste and take-away leftovers are increasingly being disposed of in the garbage containers. Corona masks also contribute to littering. 

In one day, the people of Baden-Württemberg use around eleven million FFP2 or similar masks made of textile and plastic. If worn once a day, that theoretically amounts to about 78 tons of mask waste, according to the environmental protection officer. Carelessly discarded masks are fatal for nature because – as calculated by Greenpeace – it takes 450 years for them to decompose. Whoever wants to remove them from the sidewalk or property, should wear a mask himself and throw the discarded mask with glove or gripper in a stable closed bag into the black container. “You should really use caution there – it could be an infected person’s mask.”

Due to increased ordering online, a flood of cardboard and boxes is entering households – 80 percent more than before the lockdown, according to Kurzschenkel. “That’s why, for the first time in years, the downward trend in total paper volume is not continuing,” explains the Göppingen district’s waste management operations manager. Online purchases also generate a lot of film and plastic. The Ministry of the Environment refers to estimates from waste disposal companies, according to which six percent more light packaging was generated in 2020 as a whole. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 8)

Fewer weddings and more divorces in crisis year 2020
The Corona year 2020 did not make it easy for couples. Official Hamburg wedding and divorce data shows that not only were marriages less frequent. There were also more marriages on the rocks compared to 2019. Thus, in the past year in the Hamburg registry offices about 4780 couples have given the yes-word. In the year before, there were still almost 6000 couples. At the same time, 4044 applications for divorces were received at the district courts in Hamburg last year, according to the answer given by the city parliament to a question from the AfD party. That is 212 more than in the previous year and 256 more than in 2018. (Ntv, March 8)

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