While we have been enjoying a 10-day staycation, Germany has extended the country-wide lockdown but is slowly beginning to ease some restrictions.
This is my weekly update on life in Germany and in our home.
What’s been happening in Germany
This Friday evening Germany has just under 140,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4,200 deaths. For the past week, the number of recovered people has been higher than the number of newly confirmed infections. Today the reproduction number fell to 0.7, meaning that one COVID-19 patient infects less than one other person.
Good news? Overall, yes. But the chancellor has called this a “fragile success” and her explanation of how narrow the playing field is with regard to the reproduction rate has gone viral across the world.
On Wednesday the German government extended the lockdown until the 3rd of May but also announced the first relaxing of measures. Here’s an excellent overview. Going forward, the outcomes of the opening-up will be evaluated every two weeks, and rules will be adapted accordingly. In the words of Angela Merkel, we will have to learn to live with the virus until there is a treatment or a vaccine.
Germany’s response is by no means ideal. There’s so much that could be (and is) criticized: lacking clarity about future prospects for economy and tourism, unfeasible plans for reopening schools, inadequate support for culture and the arts, and more.
Nevertheless, I appreciate the German way of dealing with COVID-19. The two adjectives I hear often these days are vernünftig and angemessen. Are the restrictions and the re-opening plans reasonable (vernünftig)? And are they appropriate (angemessen), that is, neither over- nor under-reacting?
The German adage “measure twice, cut once” (zweimal messen, einmal schneiden) is a perfect illustration of the government’s approach. All in all, I was not surprised when Germany ranked as one of the safest countries in the world during this global pandemic.
Vacation at home
We had a lovely relaxing Easter weekend, followed by my husband’s 40th birthday celebration on Tuesday. It was a quiet birthday, but that’s exactly what he had wanted anyway.
We had wrapped up the 4th week of social distancing feeling drained and burned out. So a week off was exactly what we needed. We could sleep in (hurray to us for teaching the kids to get their own breakfast!) and spend some time on our hobbies. We could enjoy the sunny weather by taking the kids out for bicycle rides. We finally had time to play board games or just simply spend more quality time with the kids.
I only wish we could have stayed in our relaxing little bubble a bit longer.
On Thursday afternoon hubby suddenly lost vision in his left eye. Let me just say, do NOT ask Doctor Google what that could mean. Fortunately, he was able to see an ophthalmologist within the hour, immediately followed by a visit to the hospital. And then he returned to the hospital this morning for some more tests.
The good news is that the vision problems should resolve themselves within a month or so (the official diagnosis is central serous retinopathy). The bad news is that he currently only has about 30% vision in his left eye which makes some daily tasks difficult.
This too shall pass. And in the meantime I have wine, chocolate, and three of my favorite artists all released new music today.
In for the long haul
The events of the past weeks have made it increasingly clear that working from home with both kids at home will be our reality for the foreseeable future.
While the first couple of weeks of social distancing felt like an extended holiday, there’s only so much staying at home you can do without going stir crazy. The kids are starting to get tired of each other’s company. Everyone is less patient. And all of us are more emotional.
Learning to live with the virus also needs to happen on a personal level. We have to find a balance between doing our part in flattening the curve and making daily life work for our family.
So we are getting out in the fresh air more. And we try to combine it with giving each of the kids some 1-to-1 attention and a break from each other. We have made time for previously postponed appointments. And we are even considering adding fixed learning/crafting times to our days, mainly for the benefit of our son who won’t do such activities without prompting.
Meanwhile, our travel plans remain up in the air. My brother’s wedding this June has been postponed but the flights have not been canceled. Will we be able to travel to Latvia in 2 months? Likely not but there’s no certainty yet. Our trip to Tenerife in October is even more precarious, who can even predict that far?
We are taking things one day at a time.
3 things I’m loving right now
Have you already heard about the One World: Together At Home festival that’s happening on the 18th of April? There will be a global broadcast as well as additional online performances, all to support front-line healthcare workers and the WHO. Tune in!
There’s a lot going on in the science community these days. And everyone can join and help by giving their input about these crazy times we live in! Check out these studies, perhaps there is something that catches your attention. For example, I will be submitting an edited version of these weekly diaries to a Corona Diaries project of a former colleague.
The spring. Enough links and fun online things, go outside and enjoy the sun!