It’s been 10 weeks since Germany went into lockdown.
Does it make sense to say that after all the ups and downs of the past months this unprecedented situation has become kind of, sort of… normal? I’ll explain what I mean by that in a moment.
First, the newest from Germany.
What’s been happening in Germany
This Friday evening Germany has just under 180,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Close to 160,000 people are estimated to have already recovered, around 8,230 have died.
All in all, the situation appears to be under control. There are no municipalities above the 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants rule aka the lockdown failsafe (albeit there are a few that are close). Here in Hamburg we even had a day with zero new cases!
While the infection counts are dropping and lockdown measures are eased, conspiracy theories and populism remain on the rise. Even if dismissed by the majority of the society (some 80% if a recent survey is to be believed), these are worrying trends that are not limited to Germany.
Meanwhile masks have become an integral part of daily life and people are getting accustomed to receiving a form asking for name and phone number together with their restaurant menu. Borders are gradually opening, and in 3 weeks travelers from other EU countries should see no more border checks. The government is discussing economic initiatives for putting spending money in people’s pockets and the feasibility of summer vacation is among the hottest topics.
A very brief snapshot of Germany during its third month of social distancing.
Life at home
Our children returned to kindergarten on Monday. All the kids were beyond excited to see each other again while we parents tried to wrap our heads around the new hygiene and safety rules. Our daycare is trying to keep siblings together, so our freshly baked 4-year-old is together with his sister in the preschool group.
This is a new situation for both of them and, unsurprisingly, caused some worries. Our youngest needs to get used to some new rules and routines, our oldest was at times annoyed that her little brother wants to play with her all the time. A situation most of us with younger siblings are more than familiar with!
All in all, despite new routines and new worries, this was a comparatively easy-going week in our house. Husband and I even managed to briefly leave the house sans kids. I can’t even remember the last time that happened!
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After 9 weeks at home, our kids returned to daycare this week. They were so excited to be back that I barely got a goodbye! There’s quite a few new regulations to ensure hygiene and distance. And both kids are now in the same group as siblings are kept together. We will see how it goes! #LastNormalPhoto from Birdy’s 6th birthday party right before this whole madness began.
Is this the new normal?
We can now meet up with friends at the playground. But only with one other family (household) at a time.
I can browse the local mall or pick up stuff from IKEA. But I must wear a mask, be mindful of safe distances, and might need to wait outside as most stores limit the number of people allowed inside.
The kids can go to the daycare again. But with additional hygiene precautions and a strict no-mixing policy between kids in different groups, their teachers, and their family members.
We can finally sit down for a yummy frozen treat at our favorite ice cream place. But we will be served by a waiter wearing a mask, be seated at a safe distance from others, and will need to leave our name and contact details (in case infection chains need to be followed).
We can get on a plane again. But we need to decide for ourselves whether it’s the smart thing to do.
All in all, most of these are limitations I am ready to live with for a while. (Even if some hurt more than others…) The question remains: for how long?
3 things I’m loving right now
I first heard about it from John Green, then from John Oliver. And when I decided to show it to my family, we were all hooked almost instantly. I’m talking about the best sport of the pandemic: marble runs! It’s crazy how addictive the races are and how quickly you get invested. Check it out: Jelle’s Marble Runs.
The Diary Project of the New York Times provides a fun set of assignments for reflecting on these crazy times. For example, see this edition about pandemic parenting.
These days social media is full of “from home” concerts. But the homemade concert that Dermot Kennedy and his band put together this week sounds and feels like a whole different world.