March 2019 saw me in my new home city in Central Germany and two years on I am living in a time of a pandemic.
I began writing these letters at the start of the pandemic in an attempt to understand Germany better and to get to grips with my relationship with the United Kingdom.
July 2, 2021.
A real sign of change here in Göttingen is the rule that each adult had to use a separate shopping trolley in a supermarket is over.
Now a couple or a group can share – at times it got silly with many trollies having just one or two items in them with the nuisance being multiplied when a group shopped. Trolley jams formed, shoppers tripped over each other, and all tolled it caused bedlam at the checkout or in the aisles.
Now, with the incidence level at 2.1 per 100,000 people in Gö we can again share a trolley! Life is now just a bit better, and it means more to me than joining with crowds to do ´exciting´ things.
The national incidence is 5.1 per 100,000 in Germany and although so much is beginning to look ´normal´ Germany is nervous because the Delta Variant (Indian) is taking hold in Britain and if it is allowed to run through the UK (and Portugal) it represents a clear and present danger to us all. Presently although Covid cases are low in Germany those detected are at over 50% Delta Variant.
From now on it is the intention that all second jabs will be a MRNA vaccine because this offers greater protection from the Delta Variant.
A low incidence rate, vaccinations increasing especially in Gö (one of the most vaccinated areas in Germany) means, as was hoped before the English Variant ripped through the country in a third wave, that the nation can react to threats from a position of calm and not be burdened by overloaded resources.
The scenes of English football fans celebrating the deserved win over Germany in the European Championship has caused alarm/dismay here, not necessarily because of the booing of the German national anthem or the ridiculing of a young German fan, but the sight of 40,000 fans mixing freely despite a (growing) incidence level of 168 per 100,000 seems to suggest that the pandemic is seen in the UK as being over.
That´s not how Germany sees it and many restrictions will remain, rather we get to celebrate the smaller things in life such as sharing a trolley. I am optimistic such small pleasures will grow in number.