Berlin’s infection rates are going up, up, up

Germany as a whole and even rule-resistant Berlin have been pretty lucky with Covid19 infection rates for some time. There were pretty solid restrictions in place, and it showed in the numbers.

Last month, those restrictions have been eased up. Shops and restaurants can open again, provided they can make sure that social distancing rules are followed. Professional sports have started again, even though the teams play in empty stadia. Churches are open for services, provided again they take good care of social distancing. All this time, people were allowed to be outside of their houses (unlike in other countries), provided they keep their distance and only meet members of 1-2 other households.

During all that time, daycares and schools had been closed and only most recently have carefully, step by step, been opening up based mostly on the parents’ situations/roles.

As a two-parent household where both can (theoretically) work from home, our kid is last in line to get back into daycare, no matter his social needs. (To be clear: While I don’t like it, I fully understand and support that other families come first: Single parents as well as those working in system-critical jobs, for example. What I don’t support is that the kids’ perspectives are totally neglected, it’s all about the parents.)

So we sit at home all day, taking turns working and caring for our 2.5 year old, who’s practically completely cut off from same age peers.

Now in a couple of weeks, the re-opening of daycare centers would also extend to us: Everybody will be able to have daycare again — provided that infection numbers stay under control.

I use the term provided so frequently in this post to make it super obvious that all these things are directly connected.

Now, looking around in our neighborhood I see restaurants and bars packed to the last seat. I see sidewalks, benches, parks and canal walls packed with people. I see bakeries full of people with no masks, and super market employees with no masks.

In other words, many of those provisos are not, in fact, met. And while that freaked me out a little, the numbers stayed low for a while.

Except, now they don’t.

Berlin’s rate of new infections per 100.000 population is up to 8.4 from 7.8 or so yesterday and 6.something the day before that.

Here are two screenshots from ZEIT.de, who collate and visualize data from various sources (which should also be visible in the screenshot):

As people on Twitter pointed out to me, looking at short term data can be tricky and problematic, which is obviously true. Looking at anecdotal evidence can be tricky and problematic, too. However, when looking for trend lines both the short term data and the anecdotal evidence around you tracks perfectly, then that seems a good reason to look closer. (The data Boris collects and cleans up shows the same trend, too.)

And I have to keep a close eye on this because if all those other provisos fail, then our kid won’t be allowed back into daycare either. It doesn’t matter if we can handle the situation as parents & in our jobs.

It’s inherently unfair to make a kid suffer through social deprivation of peers for a bunch of adults (both as business owners and as consumers) who don’t care to behave responsibly.