#43: Recovered status, rent freeze, Tesla train, cat burglars
And the billions Berlin gets from five other German states.
Hey 20 Percent!
Our household survived a corona invasion of half the inhabitants. Though I wasn’t afflicted, it seemed a little worse than a common cold but not as bad as the flu. If I’m honest, it seemed more like my wife and son were on a mini staycation in the quarantine room. I heard more laughing and chatting than nose blowing. Also, Netflix never seemed to get a break.
I credit vaccines and my fully vaccinated family.
In all the negative press and criticism about corona it’s easy to forget there are positive spots. The billions voluntarily vaccinated. Those working in care-related jobs to keep us healthy or get us back to being healthy and the general sticking-togetherness of it all. The other day on the tram we all seemed focused on the one jerk without a mask rather than the hundred or so of us with one.
Or maybe I’m just in a good mood because everyone’s healthy again and it’s Friday. Have a good weekend y’all. See you Tuesday.
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The Berlin corona stats for Friday, January 28
Fully vaccinated: 74.6% (74.3% Tuesday)
Received booster: 53.3% (51.1% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: +11,736 (13,211 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,098 (+10 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 1,829.4 (1,593.4 Tuesday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 19.1 (15.6 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 16.3% (17.5% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page, Impfdashboard
Recovered doesn’t always mean recovered
Berlin lawmakers Tuesday are expected to redefine the duration of recovered status to a uniform three months after the federal government earlier this month shortened the period to three months from six. The unexpected move created chaos because corona regulations governed by Berlin - such as restaurant and movie theater visits - continued to grant recovered status for six months while things governed federally - workplace safety and public transport - immediately only considered people recovered if it had happened in the past three months.
Five-year rent freeze?
Berlin building minister Andreas Geisel (SPD) hopes a Friday meeting with the city’s largest public and private landlords will lead to a voluntary five-year rent-hike moratorium - and you have to admire his naivete. The talks are part of a new “committee for new residential construction and affordable living” being formed by the city-state’s new government that will also include corporate and tenant lobbies, according to Tagesspiegel. The government wants the group to hammer out an agreement by June that will trade swift construction permits and other new-construction related approvals for the non-binding five year agreement, though increases to keep pace with inflation would be allowed.
Cat burglar trial
Six members of a Berlin crime family went on trial in Dresden this week for an Ocean’s Eleven-style burglary on November 25, 2019. The members of the Remmo crime family are now between 22- and 28-years-old and reportedly absconded from Dresden’s Grüne Gewölbe museum with jewelry valued by insurers at €113 million - none of the items have been recovered. Two of the suspects were at the time being tried for the similarly spectacular burglary of a €3.75 million Canadian coin from a Berlin museum in 2017. Detectives are still looking at as many as 40 accomplices in the Dresden robbery, including museum security guards.
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Tesla in the train business now too
No, not the Hyperloop. The California car company bought rails near its plant southeast of Berlin to shuttle workers until Deutsche Bahn completes the station at the cool-sounding Fangschleuse. Tesla told RBB24 it purchased the tracks from the Deutsche Regionaleisenbahn Gruppe and that it would run its own train during shift changes from the Erkner station to a provisional stop on tracks south of the factory. The plant can’t yet produce marketable cars because it was built on a provisional construction permit and officials haven’t issued the official permit because of environmental concerns.
Construction on a new train bridge and noise-abatement wall will reduce the Ringbahn (S41 and 42) to a single track between Neukölln and Treptower Park from Friday to 10pm February 7. The Ringbahn will initially ping back and forth on the single track, but, on February 7, the final day, will rely on the most hated German word: Schienenersatzverkehr (bus replacement service). Deutsche Bahn, who operates the S-Bahn, advises commuters to detour around the interruption using Baumschulenweg, where it will add extra capacity.
Factoid: Bathing in Bavarian cash
Every year, Germany’s financially weakest states get a cash injection from their richer siblings to ensure they all have the same buying power. Socialism, yo! Berlin is the biggest charity case of the 11 needy states - we got €3.6 billion of the €17.1 billion up for grabs from the 5 well-heeled last year, according to newswire dpa. Surprisingly, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most-populous state, joined the ranks of takers last year, getting its first €200 million bump while Rhineland-Palatinate went from taker to giver (€287 million) - though no one can find it on a German map. Bavaria contributes the most (€9 billion), followed by Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hesse. The annual cash transfer goes back to the Kaiser era and its scope was previously public information (as is common in many countries including the UK, US and Australia). A 2020 rule change made it secret - that is, until a disgruntled bureaucrat leaks the figures to the press.
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