Stressful times

3. April 2020

Don’t lose your head!

First of all, the facts.

For a few days now, everything has been closed: bars, clubs, discotheques, pubs, gyms, swimming pools, water parks, saunas, playgrounds, sports playing fields, cinemas, amusement arcades, casinos and betting shops.

Schools, day-care centres, adult education centres, music schools, theatres, opera houses, concert halls, museums, trade fairs and exhibitions, as well as amusement parks, zoos and wildlife parks, are likely to remain closed until the end of April, although this could be extended until the end of May.

Now the restrictions have been tightened again – initially for the next two weeks.

Accordingly, unless living in the same household, no more than two people are allowed to be together in public.

The minimum distance of 1.50 m must be observed.

It is particularly important to note that people should not meet in private either. Given the seriousness of the current situation, groups of people cannot meet, whether in public places, apartments or other private facilities. Violations of the restrictions on socialising will be monitored by the regulatory authorities and/or the police, and the appropriate sanctions applied.

Some states are even considering declaring a state of emergency. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) expects the epidemic to expand rapidly. “We have exponential growth. We are at the beginning of an epidemic that will continue for many weeks and months”, says RKI boss Lothar Wieler.

The RKI warns of 10 million infected people in less than 100 days. Charité virologist Christian Drosten assumes that the exceptional situation caused by the pandemic could last a year.

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn does not expect a return to normality in the next few months. “It will be like this for many months rather than many weeks”, he said in Berlin on Thursday, referring to the protection of older and at-risk people.

“We have to be clear with each other in society.” Even if restrictions were to be relaxed, certain groups would still have to be protected.

Don’t get caught in a vortex of gloom

The crisis will remain with us for the next few weeks, and we will have to live with it. Hoarding, selfishness and panic won’t help us in this situation. Now, it’s important to keep a cool head.

We will all have to improvise, and searching for people to take the blame makes no sense. The media is inundating us with constant bad news, and statements from some politicians and scientists are doing more to spread panic than to help.

Virologists such as Prof. Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit are warning that a long period of confinement poses health risks for the German population. We will follow that closely.

Look ahead and rethink

But what is there to do if you have to stay at home for weeks? It’s quite simple: look ahead and rethink. Of course, working from home while looking after the kids is not easy. The coronavirus and its consequences – what you need to know and what you can do to help yourself

Home spa treatments in stressful times: the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper recommends home spa treatments. Run yourself a bath, apply a home-made face mask and listen to a star pianist’s concert: you don’t have to leave the house to enjoy a spa weekend. It’s nice to do it sometimes, but not every day.

Time to read

Many people are now asking themselves how they will cope with everyday life over the next few weeks. And how can we avoid cabin fever? How can we endure the situation without going crazy? Now is the perfect opportunity to return to the classic form of evening entertainment, the book. It opens up new worlds for us, takes us into strangers’ houses and presents us with new thoughts, broadens our horizons, caresses our soul, or helps us drop off to sleep.

What can you do, and where can you find help?

1) Nachbarschaftshilfe (neighbourhood support)
This initiative connects people in risk groups (age 50+) with volunteers from non-risk groups who will run everyday errands for them to ensure our vulnerable fellow citizens enjoy the maximum possible protection during their confinement. You can reach it here:

Free telephone service: 0800 08 200 20 (from within Germany)

Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm

Quarantine Heroes

2) Students help school pupils during the coronavirus shutdown
Do you know of school pupils who cannot get home schooling from their parents during the coronavirus shutdown, or students who have a university degree and would like to register as a tutor? Click here

3) Are you a medical student, or do you know one?
Offer your help here

4) 3D printing company offers free services to hospitals
Do you work in a hospital, or do you know people who do? 3D-Natives is offering free printing resources for the following categories: hospitals, doctors, device manufacturers. If any of you work for a hospital and need masks or other equipment, 3D-Natives can model and manufacture all the parts you need. Contact them here

5) Do you have PCR skills?
Charité (Berlin laboratory) urgently needs scientists to help with COVID-19 tests. If you have skills (mainly PCR-based assays) and your laboratory is now closed, please consider whether you can offer your skills and thus help to maximise testing capacity in Germany. Sign up via the following link: Click here

6) Want to find out more?
COVID-19 curriculum from Harvard Medical School. Updated every Friday.If you have any other ideas, send us a Facebook message!

Keep your head up, and stay healthy!