On January 27, 2020, the year still seemed uneventful. That was, until an employee of a firm outside Munich, with close business ties to China, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Since then, hardly anything has remained the same. The year saw people in Germany, like in most of the world, put a halt to shaking hands and embracing. They stayed home and avoided contact with other people. New words dominated everyday life: Reproduction rate, incidence rate, quarantine, intensive care units (ICU), excess deaths, social distancing and masks. Prior to the positive test, most people were unaware that the highest infection control authority in Germany is the Robert Koch Institute — but one year later, it is common knowledge. Virologists, such as Christian Drosten of Berlin’s Charité hospital, became household names. The health minister, Jens Spahn (CDU), topped ratings among politicians. On April 23, Spahn told the Bundestag: “In a few months, we will have to forgive each other for many things.” Over the past year, German has seen over 50,000 COVID-related deaths Looking back, Spahn told DW in January 2021: “We took it very seriously back then and adapted our systems accordingly. But I don’t think anybody expected things to develop… Read full this story
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