Local news translated – Oct. 14, 2022

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

Host Nation Update, Oct. 14, 2022

Widespread basic immunity  

Yesterday, 13 Oct 22, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research released preliminary results from the ministry-sponsored IMMUNEBRIDGE study of the level of immunity in the population. According to the preliminary results, 95% of the population in Germany possesses antibodies against the coronavirus. At the press conference announcing the release of the results, Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) stated, “…a majority of the people in Germany are moderately- to well-protected against severe courses of coronavirus illness in the coming autumn and winter.” She added, “With a view to the states’ decision space [these results] mean: They need to reach for the additional protective measures in the Infection Protection Law only in the event that a new, more dangerous variant asserts itself.” Prof. Dr. Hendrik Streeck, a professor of Virology at the University Clinic Bonn and the study’s spokesman, said, “In the fight against the pandemic, this means that infection numbers are no longer chiefly decisive, rather how many patients in hospitals are being treated ‘with’ COVID.” (Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Oct 13) 


Mandatory mask wear indoors

B-W Health Minister Manfred Lucha (Greens) said yesterday, 13 Oct 22, that, in view of the rising infection numbers, he sees the possibility of the return soon of mandatory mask wear indoors, for example in shopping centers, in museums, or at events. “In some circumstances, it could happen quickly,” Lucha said. He added that the intent is to keep the health system operational, and “At the moment the situation is still manageable.” (SWR, Oct 13)


Police checks planned across Baden-Württemberg next Tuesday (Oct 18) 

Police plan to carry out more checks in Baden-Württemberg on Tuesday during a cross-state security day. The focus will also be on street crime.  

In five states, the police want to show special presence on Tuesday and strengthen the sense of security of citizens thereby. The so-called Security Day will take place in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, announced Baden-Württemberg’s Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) on Monday.

“The number of crimes in public places decreased again in 2021 in Baden-Württemberg – this is an incentive and motivation for us not to let up one bit in our commitment,” Strobl announced. The cross-border “Security Day” is taking place for the fifth time.  

In Baden-Württemberg, police officers from all 13 police headquarters, the so-called Polizeipräsidium Einsatz and the State Criminal Police Office are to be on duty. The focus of the cross-state operation is to combat street crime as well as violent and drug-related offenses, he said. The goal is to increase the pressure on criminals and to strengthen the public’s sense of security, a spokesperson for the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Interior told SWR radio.  The background to the action is a 2019 cooperation agreement between the southern German states, which, according to the Hessian Interior Ministry, has already led to successes in combating residential burglary.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 12) 


Here’s what gas customers in the Stuttgart region are facing

The heating season has long since begun – in view of the energy crisis, this is cause for concern for many people. Anyone signing a new gas contract will have to pay significantly more than last year, and costs are also rising for existing gas contracts. An overview.   In many cities in the Stuttgart region, municipal utilities offer gas in addition to national providers. In Esslingen and Ludwigsburg, for example, they are also the basic supplier, i.e. the company that supplies most households in the area and secures the supply at short notice in the event of outages.  While a kilowatt hour cost an average of 6.83 cents in the second half of 2021, it currently costs 34.39 cents at Stadtwerke Stuttgart. The website states: “In order to be able to maintain the price for existing customers, they charge tariffs for new customers based on the current market price.  The lowest price offers the public utilities Ludwigsburg Kornwestheim with 15,83 cent. For a gas quantity, which corresponds to 8000 kilowatt hours – the annual energy requirement of a 50 square meter large dwelling – one must pay thus 2870 euro in Stuttgart, in Ludwigsburg 1350 euro. In addition to the energy price per kilowatt hour, this sum also includes an annual base price. In the region, this ranges from 85 euros in Leinfelden-Echterdingen to just under 179 euros at Stadtwerke Backnang. 

What about existing contracts? Customers whose special contracts have already been in place for some time are usually not yet so massively affected by the increase. Stadtwerke in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, for example, guarantees existing customers a price of 7.4 cents per kilowatt hour at least until the end of the year. “Since we buy very long-term, we can maintain this price. But our quota for new customers has been exhausted,” says Peter Friedrich, operations manager at Stadtwerke Leinfelden-Echterdigen. On January 1, however, the tariffs will be recalculated. It is not yet possible to give a reliable answer as to what price will be charged then. How are the prices made up? According to the Ministry of Economics and Environmental Protection, before the current crisis, the purchase price and the cost of distributing the gas accounted for about half of the price. In addition, there are taxes, CO2 levy and a fee for the use of the network. Measurements and a concession fee account for only less than three percent. “The cost of raw materials has risen extremely and is now the biggest influencing factor,”. An exact breakdown is hardly possible because of the fluctuations.  If it comes to the change, an extensive research is important, he said. “A look at the prices of the basic supply is worthwhile. These are not always covered by well-known comparison portals,” says the expert. “The prices on portals should also be checked with the respective provider.” She currently advises against contracts with long terms. Here, too, the basic supply has advantages: it can be terminated within 14 days. “In addition, you could ask the provider how many progress payments are charged. The more there are, the smaller the respective amounts are,” says Scheibenberger.