#18: Fourth wave, Tesla, murder
Also Futschi and how some elected officials are starting to get (semi-) real about climate change.
The corona numbers are alarming.
The country’s would-be SPD-Grüne-FDP government this week agreed to end the current state of epidemiological emergency and promised no new lockdowns. However, corona figures this October aren’t much different than last October’s. The incidence on this day last year was 155.6 and the percentage of Covid intensive care cases was 12.2 percent, only slightly worse than current figures. And that led to a winter lockdown.
What are pols going to do this time around? We don’t know yet.
On a happier note: Thanks for your continued words of encouragement for 20 Percent. They help. Your suggestions for improvement have also been heard - because of reader responses I keep an eye out for positive news each week and are more wary of English journalism jargon that may be confusing for non-mother-tongued readers (or anyone, really). So, feedback is always welcome and share, share, share.
Have a happy Halloween!
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, October 29
Fully vaccinated: 66.5% (66.3% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 1,073 (995 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 3,700 (+23 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 137.9 (118.7 Tuesday)
🟢 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 3.9 (3.6 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 10.9% (9.4% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Tesla is a go
The permitting process for Tesla’s new battery and car plant in Grünheide has been … weird. Yes, Elon Musk weird. The project has yet to get the general building permit most companies need before breaking ground and has instead relied on 19 smaller permits, which will allow it to open this year (it will build batteries and Model Ys). Tesla has either found an ingenious way around the German bureaucracy we all hate or is wielding its international might against a provincial government, depending on your view. The general permit is reportedly now a done deal as well, though one final public hearing is required, which will now be online and won’t be a video conference. Instead, opponents will have to submit digital objections to be viewed by authorities. A representative for environmental group NABU told Berliner Zeitung that effectively makes the meeting a digital stack of paper (that can be ignored). She’s not wrong.
Boosters for J&J (and everyone else)
Berlin’s government, the Senat, Friday recommended a booster shot with Biontech or Moderna for anyone who got the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab as recently as four weeks ago. German health minister Jens Spahn (CDU) then went on RBB radio and said boosters are also recommended for anyone at-risk and also healthcare personnel and also anyone who got the two-shot AstraZeneca and also basically anyone. There’s plenty of vaccine, he said. FYI: A corona researcher from Charité recommends a booster six months after the last vaccination regardless of brand, according to newswire dpa.
Bye bye cheap Mitte parking
Election promises are beginning to take shape in Berlin with Mitte’s new council already agreeing to eliminate 25 percent of the central borough’s parking spots by 2026 for climate reasons, Morgenpost says. The spots will be replaced with trees, community spaces and even parking spots for bikes, e-scooters and cargo bikes, which became an odd FDP target during the election. Even as a car owner I say: F-ing finally.
And then there was crime …
Two high-profile cases started this week: The murder trial of a former Potsdam caretaker who is suspected of killing four disabled people in her care in April as well as that of a 44-year-old man whose epileptic attack behind the wheel of a Porsche led to the death of four people in 2019. The 52-year-old caretaker took the stand Monday in Potsdam but she didn’t discuss the crime, just her childhood and the Oberlin disabled home where she worked, according to Berliner Zeitung. The suspect has been in a psychiatric hospital since her arrest and at least one specialist has said mental illness made her unaware of the gravity of the crime. The case is due to end in December. In the case of the driver, he’s charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment after his speeding Porsche Cayenne mowed down pedestrians on Invalidenstraße. Doctors had removed a benign brain tumor from the suspect, according to Tagesspiegel, and had told him he was ineligible to drive until he went without epileptic attacks for a certain period - his wife had reportedly noticed something was wrong with him the day of the accident. The case began Friday in Berlin. A verdict is expected in February.
Futschi: Berliner Weisse is a type of beer unique to Berlin. It’s just 3 percent alcohol and bitter so barkeepers add a sugary syrup (the joke goes that it won’t get you drunk but will give you diabetes). And Futschi is likely the only cocktail unique to Berlin. It’s part cola and part brandy. The name sounds vulgar and it doesn’t taste much better.
See you Tuesday!