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What The Local Germany aims to do for its readers

The team at The Local Germany explain the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and what we aim to do for readers in the coming weeks and months.

What The Local Germany aims to do for its readers
People walking in a market in Dresden in April. Photo: DPA

Like most of the world, we were unaware that a pandemic was around the corner when we started publishing news stories on The Local about coronavirus back at the start of 2020.

But very quickly, the scale of what was happening to the world became apparent. We told how the first case was detected in Germany in January and then went on to report how it spread throughout the country, offering detailed analysis, as well as the latest from German authorities, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Like many of our readers, we moved to working from home. And at the peak of the crisis our small team worked round the clock to make sure we were covering all the news and keeping our readers informed on rules affecting every single person, from travel restrictions to curfews. 

We wanted to show you what was happening in Germany, from the smaller regions to the big cities; from the front line of the crisis to the businesses affected, and those having their working hours reduced. 

We wanted to hear our readers’ voices on how they were coping and dealing with the changes. 

READ ALSO: How Germany's international residents are affected by the coronavirus pandemic

We wanted to offer reassurances and report the facts accurately so readers had all the important information during this unsettled time. We even took down our paywall on need-to-know coronavirus information so everyone had access to emergency numbers and the latest regulations. 

Record number of readers sign up as paying members

In writing about it, our reporters and other staff have been living through this pandemic just like you, worrying about family, cancelling plans, falling ill with coronavirus, not knowing when they will be able to see friends and relatives back home, and stressing about future uncertainties.

We are used to covering news and disturbing events. But this pandemic was a whole new thing. 

In those first uncertain months, everything was up in the air. 

And we've been worried about the future of our jobs and business, like everyone else. So many media companies have had to lay off journalists this year. Here at The Local, we saw our advertising revenues plummet. We were rescued by a record number of readers who signed up as paying members (there are now 27,000 of you, but we will need over 40,000 to be sustainable on membership alone).

You literally saved us and we can’t think you enough. We are over the moon to receive support from you. 

But it’s not over. We now need to keep growing to secure our future and develop our sites to expand our coverage of the issues that matter to you. And more importantly: we want to start paying you back. We're reinvesting much of our membership revenue into improving the site and our journalism – this is our way of saying thank you.

Here's what we've done so far:

There were and continue to be so many stories to tell.

So here’s what we want you to know: we are here for you. We want to continue to tell your stories, fight your corner and make your voice heard.

How can we do this? 

  • We are keeping our eyes and ears peeled for any changes to life in Germany that affect you, whether it concerns tax, housing, jobs or life in general

  • We’ll report on new coronavirus rules and regulations, important updates, news stories and analysis

  • We'll report on your stories, concerns and ask questions on your behalf. That could be about coronavirus, Brexit or any other topic

We are a small team so if there is anything you think we’ve missed or that you want us to write about you should feel free to contact us. We might not be able to cover everything but we'll certainly try.

You can email our general address: [email protected]. You can also contact editor Rachel Stern ([email protected]) or deputy editor Rachel Loxton ([email protected]

You can tweet us: @TheLocalGermany, @rthejournalist @Rachloxton

Thank you for reading and supporting The Local.

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German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

The Covid pandemic is continuing to cause problems around Germany, with concerns that the number of patients needing treatment will rise in the coming weeks.

German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

In its weekly Covid report, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said that confirmed infections appeared to be rising in some German states, and falling in others.

But experts warned that the situation remained tense, with many infections not reported. 

Therefore, in the coming weeks, “hospitalisations, an increase in intensive care treatment and deaths are to be expected, especially among the elderly”, said the RKI.

People over the age of 80 “continue to be most affected by severe courses of the disease”, the experts said in their report. 

The incidence of infections is continuing to rise for this age group, and the number of outbreaks of Covid-19 in medical treatment facilities as well as in old people’s and nursing homes is going up.

READ ALSO: Which Covid rules are likely to return to Germany in autumn?

The number of patients with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) is also rising slightly. In the previous week, the number was reported to be around 1,330. And on Thursday July 28th, 1,550 people were in ICUs in Germany with 484 receiving ventilation treatment, according to the DIVI intensive care register. 

The number of deaths in connection with the virus is currently around just over 400 per week. The RKI says this trend is a plateau.

When it comes to the overall picture of Covid in Germany, the RKI said there was a “sideways movement rather than a decreasing trend”.

Last week, the nationwide 7-day incidence decreased slightly compared to the previous week. The overall picture shows falling incidences in most western German states and Berlin, with incidences still rising slightly in the other eastern German states and Bavaria.

The RKI estimates there’s been a total of 800,000 to 1.5 million people with Covid (who also have symptoms) in the past week alone in Germany.

Last week experts warned that they expected the Covid situation to get worse in the coming weeks as many schools in Germany return after the summer break.

READ ALSO: Germany’s summer Covid wave set to get worse

The Omicron sub-variant BA.5, which has dominated in Germany since mid-June, has almost completely displaced other variants. It accounts for 89 percent of samples in the past week, the RKI said.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned people against underestimating getting Covid again.

The SPD politician pointed out that it was very easy to become infected with BA.5 – even for those who were infected with a previous type.

He warned that many could become seriously ill or die, plus there’s the risk of picking up Long Covid.

“Therefore, we have to solve the problem not by constant infection, but by better vaccines,” Lauterbach said.

‘Call things as they are’

Lauterbach, meanwhile, defended himself against his choice of words when describing the possibility of a new dangerous Covid variant emerging in autumn. 

In an interview with Bild newspaper in April he said: “It is quite possible that we will get a highly contagious Omicron variant that is as deadly as Delta – that would be an absolute killer variant.”

He was slammed for his dramatic choice of words. 

This week Lauterbach said: “I use few vocabulary that is apocalyptic. But sometimes you have to call things as they are.”

If there were a virus that linked the contagion of the BA.5 variant with the severe course of a Delta variant, “that would be a killer variant”, he maintained.

But he stressed that he had “not said that such a variant is definitely coming, but that we have to be prepared for such a variant”.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister calls on under 60s to get next Covid jab