Sonja Karallus : Germany’s life in Coronavirus time…

There are very strong regional differences in Germany. March was ending when Sonja Karallus explain us the situation out there. Federal states were discussing how people behaved to determine whether the measures taken so far will be tightened. For example, Heinsberg, a district near Aachen, is the region with the first infections and unfortunately still with the most corona traps and also deaths. This was where the most intensive outbreaks are recorded. And the day before, news came that the Rheinisch-Bergisch district has a strongly increasing number of new infections and also two deaths.

LCV Magazine : What do you think about those potential measures ? Dont you think they were too radical ?

Sonja Karallus : The measures for increased social segregation leaded to a flattening of the curve of new infections, only a small number of new infections and thus also the number of seriously ill people should not become too high and it should be ensured that treatment places remain sufficient. One must not waste time now, one must find a sense of proportion and take certain measures. Since Friday, everyone nationwide has had the impression that the streets are now empty and people are increasingly staying at home.

LCV Magazine : How do people have behaved in Germany ?

Sonja Karallus : In the middle of march I was still in the office in Cologne. Half of the colleagues were still there, as there was no clear order for the home office. In the afternoon I got the official information that all who can work from the home office should do so. This information was combined with some internal hints. What’s nice to see is that we are well equipped digitally and are now practicing the new form of collaboration. But since in my case all galleries in Germany and Europe have closed, business has become very quiet. At that time, corona parties were still going on in Cologne this week, but by Friday at the latest, the entire population has decided that we should all stay at home.

Also the mayor Henriette Reker is already in the home office, because she had contact with infected people. Since Saturday the rule in Cologne is that only 2 people with a distance of 2 m are allowed outside or more than the closest family. Virologist Christian Drosten answers current questions about the corona virus in his NDR podcast Monday to Friday. In addition to the press conference of the Robert Koch Institute, these are factual and extremely informative sources that many people in my environment listen to regularly. Curfew is one of the many measures that come together additively. It is impossible to say what else a curfew as a measure will achieve. What can certainly be said is that if the measures already in force are not complied with by the population, the politicians will impose further drastic measures. In addition to a hard data base, which does not exist for a curfew, there is a public, indeed a visible, impression. In the absence of data, it is extremely difficult for decision-makers to make this decision. It will probably take 2 or 3 weeks before you get the data that can tell you what the additional benefit would be if you imposed a curfew now.

LCV Magazine : What does this mean for your everyday way of living ?

Sonja Karallus : You have to focus not only on the negative but on the positive. For example, in Cologne there are small shops such as bookstores and clothing stores that deliver to their customers after they have ordered personally. So perhaps children and people who have birthdays can be pleased for a moment – and so can the parents. These small shops also have a very important social function in their district. I have found the way to go out for a long walk once a day. At the beginning of the week I also went for a walk with a friend. I have now stopped that and only go for a big walk on my own. Alternatively, it is of course also possible in the closest family circle. So today I went jogging with my daughter in great sunshine. This did us both very good. I am also aware of our privileged situation that we have enough space for 4 people at home, which offers everyone a place to retreat and we can also stay outside in our own garden. I talk to my mother every day, the last time I saw her was 3 days ago. We have agreed that I will not enter her apartment during the next visit and we will only talk about the window. Everything is new, everything has to be re-arranged and discipline is now required from everyone. But the recent orders to reduce social contacts as much as possible seem to work. The public order office is in town – but there are hardly any people on the road. All at home. We make appointments with friends to chat. This is also new. I think this is just the beginning and there will be many more personal and social-economis challenges in the next days and weeks.

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