The latest corona state for Berlin (tallied Sunday, 14 February)
New cases in one day: +71 (204 Saturday)
Total number of corona deaths: 2,609 (+4 over Saturday)
🟢 R number: 0.94 (0.88 Saturday)
🔴 New infections per week: 56.8/100,000 inhabitants (59.3 Saturday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 21.9 per cent (22.7 per cent Saturday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
The lowdown ...
10% of new infections from virus variants
Berlin's city-state parliament met for a special assembly on Sunday - and naturally just talked about corona. Health minister Dilek Kalayci (SPD) reminded everyone why caution in the next phase of lockdown is so important. She said that whilst infection figures have fallen recently, virus variations mean we shouldn't get carried away, as these now account for more than 10 per cent of new infections in the city: "We cannot ignore this," Kalayci said.
Meanwhile Berlin's CDU faction argued against the red-red-green plan to gradually re-open schools from next Monday (22 February), saying schools should not be opened until at least two quick tests per week and medical masks were available to all students as well as teachers in grades with in-person teaching, plus air purification devices for all classrooms. The FDP also wants to see a phased plan for faster re-opening of society.
TU Berlin: infection risk high in schools, low in hair salons
Researchers at Berlin's Technische Universität have been looking at the potential R rate (the number of healthy people a person with corona infects on average) in different indoor settings. A two-hour visit to the hairdresser was deemed low risk, at 0.8, as was a visit to the theatre or a museum at 0.5 - provided everyone wears a mask and occupancy is just 30 per cent. The risk would be much higher in a full high school with no masks worn, at 11.5, or in an office at 50 per cent occupancy and no masks, at a value of 8. However, the researchers said more evidence was needed for their study's findings.
Bayern Munich trainer cross at Lauterbach
Hansi Flick, chief coach at Bayern Munich football club, has hit back at SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach after he criticised the team's trip to Qatar to participate in the Club World Cup tournament. Lauterbach called the journey "irresponsible", saying the players were not acting as "role models" while other citizens were advised against all travel abroad. Flick told reporters Lauterbach "always has something to say about everything", arguing that such trips are "our job... something we have to do". Lauterbach later tweeted that Flick was entitled to his opinion, but added: "As an amateur sportsman, I say: don't be unfair!"
In case you missed it ....
Netflix is a godsend during lockdown, and awards season is coming up soon. Read our interview with 12-year-old Berliner Helena Zengel, who is up for a Golden Globe for her Hollywood debut alongside Tom Hanks.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team