🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 1 February)
New cases in one day: 455 (140 Sunday)
Total number of corona deaths: 2,293 (+17 over Sunday)
🔴 New infections per week: 84.8/100,000 inhabitants (83.8 Sunday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Merkel: we can still offer everyone a vaccine by end of summer
Yesterday saw five-and-a-half hour talks between the government, federal states and EU and pharmaceutical representatives over tackling Germany's disappointing start to vaccinating its citizens. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said talks were "valuable and informative" - although it was difficult to balance details for a national innoculation plan with pharma companies' inability to promise deliveries months in advance. Nevertheless, Merkel says her previously stated aim of offering vaccination to all of Germany's adult population (73 million) by the end of this summer is still realistic with the three vaccines already approved - although she admitted there would be "no miracles" in vaccine production. Parties committed to closer cooperation on delivery expectations.
Other than that, not much news has come out of the summit. Health minister Jens Spahn (CDU) warned against high expectations from it, but it's a disappointing outcome nonetheless, our colleague Tanja Brandes argues here.
More vaccines for Berlin expected today
Berlin's sluggish vaccination process will hopefully receive a boost today with the planned delivery of 29,250 doses of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine. Supply issues mean none of the three currently operating vaccination centres (at Arena Treptow, Erika Heß ice rink and the Messe in Charlottenburg) are working at full capacity - but the Berlin health department is planning to open the fourth of its six planned centres at the former Tegel airport next Wednesday (10 February). Following yesterday's Impfgipfel, mayor Michael Müller (SPD) said supplies would "remain tight" in the first quarter of this year, but is confident that increased supplies from the second quarter will see the process make "leaps and bounds". More than 130,000 vaccines have been administered in Berlin as of 31 January, of which around 33,000 people have received two jabs.
Rise in skin problems from medical masks
Wearing a medical grade mask on public transport and in shops is compulsory across Germany - but their hyper-filtering action is wreaking havoc on those with skin conditions like acne. Weißensee dermatologist Dr Christian Kors says he is now seeing several cases of major irritation in the area of the face covered by a mask every day, because bacteria and even fungi are more easily trapped inside the masks. He says the phenomenon is too new to talk about specific treatment - but he suspects rewearing or failed attempts to wash the masks intended for single use doesn't help, and allergies to mask materials are also possible. If you've not yet gone down a skincare rabbit hole during lockdown, why not start now?
In case you missed it...
Corona makes it easy to forget there are other problems in the world, like climate change. Berlin start-up Made of Air is trying to do something about it by turning pollution into plastic.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team