#83: Corona wave, busy fire department, failing A100
And our summer party!
Hey 20 Percent!
I have a confession to make: I once seriously considered moving from Berlin to Austin, Texas. I know. I’m sorry. I had my reasons. But during those considerations I talked to a friend who lived there and asked how they dealt with the summer heat. “You always have to be near a body of water,” they said. I think of those words every time things get warmer in Berlin. Luckily, Brandenburg (and its lakes) is just a €9 public transport ticket away.
If you haven’t heard yet, it’s supposed to get into the mid-30s tomorrow (mid-90s for my fellow Yanks). Since it’s Friday, I’ll avoid the discussion about climate change and instead remind you to use plenty of sunscreen, to stay hydrated and to enjoy the weather — it’s our reward for surviving the Berlin winter … and spring.
Tuesday we’re also having our first-ever summer party to coincide with Fête de la Musique. We’ve moved the venue around the corner from Pfefferberg to the charming Bar Tabac, Christinenstr. 24, in Prenzlauer Berg. Maurice and I will be there from 7pm to at least 9pm. Our Patreon supporters get a free drink and everyone else a cheerful greeting. Come say hi!
Thanks to Expath, our sponsor today, and check out It’s That Time of the Month next Friday for funny, funny improv (more info below).
Have a great weekend!
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, June 17
Received booster: 61.4% (61.3% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 2,033 (2,046 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,633 (+3 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 288.6 (292.7 Tuesday)
🟡 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 4.4 (4.7 Tuesday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 3.2% (2.7% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Summer wave sounds funner than it is
German health minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said the country has stumbled into a summer corona wave thanks to a new variation of the infectious Omicron variant, according to Tagesspiegel. A disease modeler at the Technical University said they expected the number of cases to continue growing along with hospitalizations as the summer moves into fall though it won’t peak as high as the last wave in April, when the national incidence shot over 1,000. The new variant isn’t believed to be worse than other Omicron infections.
The fire department’s never been busier
The Berlin Feuerwehr responded to 492,226 calls for help last year, a record, but fell short of its own goal of being on-scene within 10 minutes — it only arrived on-time in just under half of all responses, according to RBB24. While presenting its 2021 annual report, the fire service said people dialed 112 1.1 million times last year, or once every 29 seconds. The department is working to add more employees and counter a drastic diversity problem — just 8.7 percent of its workforce is female. It didn’t report statistics on ethnicity.
How to get an IC/ICE with the €9 ticket
Deutsche Bahn — you know, the company that runs Germany’s national railway — last week said holders of €9 tickets can upgrade to faster IC and ICE trains if the regional choo-choo they’re on is late by more than 20 minutes, thanks to a passenger rights credo DB follows. However, passengers must first buy a ticket for the faster train and then claim a refund using a form that can be found here. You have to tell them what regional train you were supposed to be on and which one you upgraded to and then provide copies of all your various tickets. If you submit your claim online, the refund generally shows up within days with very little hassle (assuming you did everything right).
Highway extension getting more unlikely
Members of Berlin’s center-left SPD will meet this weekend to reaffirm the party’s leadership and discuss its direction. They’re currently the largest faction in Berlin’s government and they appointed mayor Franziska Giffey, who will likely be reaffirmed as their top dog. The meeting will also discuss the future of the planned extension of the A100 autobahn from Treptow across the Spree and into Lichtenberg — one proposal under consideration would require citizen approval for the extension while another would require Berlin to stop planning for it, essentially killing any future work. The federal government still wants the new highway and the SPD was previously in favor. That’s changed — thank heavens.
Anhalter Bahnhof opened on Askanischer Platz on June 15, 1880. It was one of the most lavish train stations in Europe and a kaiser even showed up for the event but now only a part of its facade remains following Allied bombing in WWII. Thanks to Berlin Companion for the tip — she has lots more info on the place on her twitter.
Event recommend: ITTOM
A monthly improvised live talk show hosted by Berlin’s funniest women. Join them for a daytime evening of hilarity where they improvise about topics close to their hearts and dish out life advice on all things necessary. A non-award-winning show. Tickets and info here.
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