Shutdown two, week twenty-four

Finally! The Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, has issued the long-overdue curfew.

State and federal governments are still arguing, though – as if the virus would care and wait for their deliberations.

ICUs in Cologne are at capacity, mainly with people of middle age.

Schools are still open.

Did anybody mention work from home?


(City of Cologne, Twitter, 4/16/21)

Shutdown two, week twenty-three

This week brought us two new words: “Bundesnotbremse” (Federal Emergency Brake) and “Brückenlockdown” (Bridge Lockdown).

They are both symptomatic of a complete and utter failure by our government to adequately address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not to mention the anemic progress in vaccinations. Sigh.

We know that the greatest danger of infection is when we are in groups inside a room – shouldn’t we all be working in a home office then? Asking for a friend.

On a slightly sad note, the Hoky Popi festival in Santander got canceled. Not unexpected, but I was looking forward to it nevertheless.


(Hoky Popi cancellation, Twitter, 4/12/21)


My father, Dr. Klaus Frank, would have turned 100 today.

He was an ensign in the Wehrmacht and fought against the Soviet Union, returning home severely injured.

After the war, he spent most of his life atoning and striving towards reconciliation with his former enemies, trying to righting the wrongs and the suffering he had caused.

He joined the Social Democrats as an active member and founded a non-profit organization supporting Willy Brandt’s peace efforts.

I miss him.


(With his second wife, most likely in early 2010)

Yom HaShoa

“We cannot keep the remembrance of the Shoah only in the past.

The memory must become a key for our reflection about the world today, and the future.

It should become the source of our moral responsibility for the world we live in.”

Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Auschwitz Memorial, via Twitter

26 Nisan 5781

Shutdown two, week twenty-two


We’re in year two of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the prime minister of NRWE is taking Easter off to think and try to understand how the virus transmits from person to person.

It’s consistent, though; he also fails to understand the impact of CO2 on the climate emergency and the immediate need to stop burning fossil fuels.

Could it be an option to listen to our scientists?


(Easter vigil, Rudolfplatz, 4/3/21)

Shutdown two, week twenty-one

We are stuck, like the Ever Given in the Suez Canal.

The number of infections is on the rise; the new Covid-19 mutations transmit to the younger generation at a much higher rate.

Vaccination efforts have stalled.

There is no home office mandate in place.

The government has canceled the hard Easter lockdown.

Schools remain open.

What a colossal, embarrassing mess!


(Container Ship ‘Ever Given’ stuck in the Suez Canal, Egypt; Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2021; 3/24/21)

Shutdown two, week twenty

The lockdown is finally grown up; it’s no longer a teenager. After today’s about-face from our government over Easter restrictions, we’ll probably see it go into its thirties or forties. Can we get a new government, please?

Last Friday, though, we had the latest global climate strike – it was a total success! In Cologne, we had six fully Corona-compliant stages and made ourselves felt and heard throughout the city.

People understood the urgency of change to prevent the climate emergency, and we got pretty good media coverage.

Corona enabled us to have remote presenters from all over the world, and we were able to invite renowned scientists, such as Jason von Juterczenka, to give short lectures without the need for travel.

We will, however, need to elect a government this fall that understands the climate crisis and is willing to act!


(Cologne, Lecture by Jason von Juterczenka, 3/19/21)

Shutdown two, week nineteen

The lockdown is almost grown-up; this week was its last week as a teen.

Infections are on the rise, and the predictions for Easter are dire. Vaccination efforts are stalling.

Nevertheless, we’re opening the schools.

Aside from Corona, our governments also keep ignoring the climate crisis.

So we need to go back to the streets – this Friday, March 19, Global Climate Strike!



(© Markus Burbach, @MaBurbach, 3/13/21)

Shutdown two, week eighteen

The situation is much worse than last week: Seven-day R is above 1, meaning that the number of infections is on the rise.

Yet, our government plans to ease the restrictions.

And vaccination is not going anywhere – our vaccination strategy is a colossal failure, both on a state and the country level.

Unfortunately, like in other big infrastructure projects (e.g., BER), our state institutions appear entirely overwhelmed and dysfunctional.


(Cologne, Lockdown, 3/6/21)

Shutdown two, week seventeen

We’re in a quite paradoxical situation: While we expect the third wave of infections, we nevertheless ease the contact restrictions.

Why is it so difficult to understand and accept that proximity and contact frequency drive the pandemic? No reason to blame the government for that, I think.

One group, however, is definitely to blame, and that’s the employers who do not allow their employees to work from home, even if it was possible.

I will make sure that I do not buy any goods or services from these companies in the future!


(Cologne, future Home Office, 2/28/21)