Shutdown two, week thirty

Infections rates are still going down, luckily, so beginning Monday, we will lift the curfew in Cologne, and restaurants will allow outdoor seating.

If the downward trend continues, restaurants might open the week after next for outdoor seating without checking for test results.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Having said this, I will wait until after two weeks after my second shot before venturing out again for anything but necessary shopping.

And sitting exams.

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(Rheinauhafen, FOM Hochschule, 5/17/21)

Shutdown two, week twenty-nine

The infection rates are still going down, and for a couple of days now, the incident rate has been below 100 – we’ve moved from the stricter curfew in Cologne back to federal levels (10:00 pm to 5:00 am).

In some parts of Germany, you can go back to restaurants and eat outside; Cologne will probably follow suit shortly if the reduction of infection rates remains as steady as it is now.

During the pandemic, I’ve come to enjoy and cherish working from home, something I’d hope to be able to continue post-pandemic.

A key learning was to fully embrace “Inbox Zero” by Merlin Mann and tone down notifications on my mobile devices and desktop. Inbox Zero is not only a thing for EMail; it also works perfectly on all other communication channels, such as Slack or Teams, and helps with getting things done.

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(Slack, All unreads, 5/19/21)

Shutdown two, week twenty-eight

We’re still in lockdown, and the curfew is still in effect, but the infection rates are finally going down. There is cautious optimism for the summer, and some people are already thinking about traveling for vacation – I’ll wait until 2022, I think.

After months of rallies, we had our first bicycle demonstration on Friday – six feet apart and wearing masks, of course.

It’s time to look at who’s financing the fossil fuel industry, and in Germany, the Commerzbank is heavily involved.

I think we shall make sure that their customers and shareholders know this during the next couple of months.

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(Commerzbank Cologne, Unter Sachsenhausen, 5/14/21)

Liberation Day

Seventy-six years ago, the Allied Forces were finally victorious and rid the world of the German terror. They put an end to the most heinous crime ever performed in human history, and I am forever grateful.

I fully support making Liberation Day a national holiday, lest we forget all the sacrifices needed to end the terror regime. We do need to stay vigilant!

Fast forward, we’re in week twenty-seven of the Covid-19 lockdown, and there is some good news: The number of new infections is slowly going down, the “Bundesnotbremse” and the curfews seem to work. Also, the Astra Zeneca vaccine is now available to all adults.

One substantial open issue remains: How do we protect kids and adolescents? Pfizer is testing their vaccine for teenagers – I keep my fingers crossed!

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(Liberation Day / Tag der Befreiung)

Lockdown two, week twenty-six

The numbers are looking better this week – the curfew seems to work, and the peak infection rates from the Easter break seem to be waning.

As restrictions will begin to ease, we need to think about our fear of going out and meeting people again (FOGO) – it won’t be easy, I guess.

In the long run, my take on this pandemic is that much like HIV has taught us about wearing a condom, Sars-CoV-2 will teach us about wearing an FFP2 mask in certain situations.

No big deal.

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(Jean-Claude Letist, AIDS Activist, Cologne, 4/28/21

LDW +3

Three years ago was my last day at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and now my time at the university is coming to a close, too.

Two years ago, there were no signs of all the changes the pandemic would bring.

A year ago, we were already fighting with the pandemic, and I was already doing regular walks with my buddy Machop.

Today, I will go on another walk with him.

But, I am still as excited as I was three years ago, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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(Machop with a gift and Twitch, Cologne, 4/9/21)

Shutdown two, week twenty-five

Hooray! We’ve finally enacted the “Bundesnotbremse” (Federal Emergency Brake) and are putting a bit more effort into containing the pandemic.

The curfew in Cologne remains in effect, too; hopefully, we will see a reduction in infections and deaths in the weeks to come.

Quite many artists have made a fool of themselves this week by mocking the efforts – why is it so difficult for some people to understand that they cannot discuss or plead with a virus?

On a lighter note, today was Pokémon Go Friendship Day, and I managed to complete the collection challenge!

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(Friendship Day, Collection Challenge, 4/24/21)

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?

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(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.

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

100

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.

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