Burkhard Kieker, head of VistBerlin, left, and Berlin economy minister Ramona Popp, right. Bad joke centre.
Photo: DPA

BerlinEvery weekday at 11am come to the Berliner Zeitung English Edition for the latest corona/covid-19 news at a glance.

First, the official coronavirus stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 14 September)

R number: 1.15 (1.07 Sunday)

New infections per week: 14.9 / 100,000 inhabitants (14.1 Sunday)

Percentage of covid-19 patients in intensive care: 1.3 per cent (1.1 Sunday)

Total number of corona deaths: 226 (no new deaths)

Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page 

The lowdown...

Which is exactly what a despot trying to poison the world would say

Microsoft founder and bajillionaire Bill Gates was busy giving interviews to German media yesterday saying he was disappointed that he's getting blamed for a virus that he tried to encourage governments to prepare for. He expects a handful of vaccines to be approved in the first quarter of 2021 (rich people always think in fiscal quarters) and said producing the necessary 14bln doses will be a herculean, but achievable, task. He also promised not to implant any microchips in anyone. Although we'd really like to have a chat with Bill about Teams and Windows 98, we're glad he's fighting the good fight.

There's no such thing as a free flight

The German government is owed €44m from some of the 240,000 German tourists it brought home in chartered flights at the beginning of the pandemic, according to Tagesspiegel. Some travelers have already paid their bills, ponying up €2.7m, but the payment deadline hasn't yet passed for others. Travellers aren't on the hook for the entire €94m the government spent on rescue flights but maybe we can consider some of it Soforthilfe (pandemic subsidies) for the airlines and reduce the €9bln bailout politicians gave Lufthansa. Or maybe Mr & Ms Gates want to contribute something?

Leave the comedy to BVG, please

Maybe you heard about Berlin's rebranding? Well, politicians, the tourist office and a state real estate company are taking the whole thing too far and are using it for a wear-your-mask campaign for bars. Highlights? "Mask up or pub closed" and "Even after five beers you can remember to wash distance, wear hands and keep masks." All alongside that new, middle-aged bear stumbling around in the dark looking for his glasses (with no mask on). The signs give us a decidedly German emotion: Fremdschämen (embarrassment for someone else).

Online university sucks

Some 3.36 per cent of respondents to a Hildesheim University study of university students rated the prospect of another all-online semester "very bad" while another 22.9 per cent found it just "bad". Sixty per cent of the respondents had a negative view of online learning and 82.3 per cent said that what they missed the most was inter-personal contact, either with lecturers or other students.

In case you missed it ...

Post-Berlin Wall Chemnitz became the crystal meth capital of Europe. The article is a very good read on the complexities of reunification.

That's all for now folks. Stay healthy!

Yours,

The Berliner Zeitung English team

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