🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 21 December)
New cases in one day: 953 (516 Sunday)
Total number of corona deaths: 1,024 (+17 over Sunday)
🟢 R number: 1.10 (1.01 Sunday)
🔴 New infections per week: 218.2/ 100,000 inhabitants (212 Sunday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Let the vaxxing begin
Following approval of the BionTech vaccine, jabs are scheduled to begin on Sunday, 27 December, across Germany. The residents of care homes will come first - and will be vaccinated by mobile teams. Remember, at this stage only those who receive an invitation from the government are eligible for a shot (here's our explainer on the Berlin vaccination plan). Meanwhile, after the EU purchased fewer doses of the BionTech vaccine than it could have, Germany has re-upped for another 30 million on its own. (Note to Brexiteers: national sovereignty is still a thing.)
"UK variant" continues to wreak havoc
Discussion in Germany continues on how infectious the new mutation circulating in the UK really is. In a tweet, SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach cited new British research confirming fears that the variant was more infectious than other strains and "cause for concern." He pleaded for Germany to continue its lockdown until the incidence rate (number of new infections per 100,000 over 7 days) fell to 25. Right now we're at 218 in Berlin and 197 for Germany as a whole. Time to hibernate! And in case you haven't heard: all flights, trains and ships (apart from pure cargo) from the UK and South Africa to Germany have been banned till at least 6 January.
Fewer accidents, more dead
Frank Schattling, head of Berlin police's traffic department, reports there were 13 per cent fewer accidents on the roads of Berlin in the first three quarters of this year compared to the same period in 2019. However, the number of dead rose from 40 to 48, despite two lockdowns during which traffic levels dropped drastically. Most shocking is perhaps the rise in the number of cyclist deaths to 17 from 6. Seven cyclists were killed in 2020 by trucks making right turns alone.
In case you missed it...
In case this situation is feeling dystopic to you, remember it would have been worse if Hitler had won the war. In a history long read, we delve into what remains of his Nazi fantasy for Berlin: Germania, "capital of the world."
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team