Moving Out During a Pandemic and Why It Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me

By Helena Wagner

What do you say to a 19-year-old student moving out? Maybe: “Please watch your candles while they burn! You don’t want to set the house on fire in the first week you’re living there.”

Well, this question should not be too hard to answer.
But what do you say to a 19-year-old student moving out during a pandemic, when the world she knew basically does not exist anymore and her plan after school turned out to be a lot more different than expected, her mother waving her good-bye with a package full of face masks in her hand? In the process of becoming an adult, moving out during a pandemic sculpted me from a teen into a hard-working individual who learned to stand on her own feet, teaching me more about the person I want to become – a responsible, independent woman.

The decision to move far away from your hometown, where you spend most of your life with your family and friends, is already a bold one at this age. You are going to leave the life you knew behind and start a completely new chapter after school, as a student in a completely new city. But the circumstances in the year 2020 are making the process of moving and finding new surroundings a lot harder. Finding a job in a new city is much more difficult than before because many companies do not look for new employees since the economy is decreasing due to corona restrictions. If you want to find a job, you either need to be lucky or really convincing about your qualities. But once you have a job, the risk of losing it due to a second or third lockdown is high, especially in the service sector where lots of students are working in addition to their studies. You really need to have a plan in hand for paying your bills and rent, especially if your parents cannot give you any financial support. That takes a lot of self-organisation and responsibility as well as self-esteem and courage.

But the coronavirus is not just controlling our work life, it is also present in our social life. As a young person in a new city, you usually do not know a lot of people. You learn about the city by discovering it with other students and maybe go to parties to connect, so finding new friends is not that hard. Seeing the new city as your new home is not difficult if you have people that you can spend your time with. But during a pandemic there are no parties and lots of fun things that you can do with new acquaintances are unavailable. Also, the people are social distancing to stay healthy and prevent the virus from spreading, so meeting people is not easy at all. That leads to a lot of time spent alone, not having your friends and family near to meet up and talk in person. Feeling lonely and lost in the new city is the result.

Missing friends and family and questioning the decision of moving is completely normal in such a situation. There is so much time to think about moving back and feeling nostalgic about the time in school where your life was organised and had a structure, that the urge to give in to this feeling is strong. But that is what makes this new episode in life so special. You now have full control and responsibility for your actions and your way of living. The new circumstances can be overwhelming at first. Overcoming this dark place in the mind is a strengthening experience, because once you have done so, you know you can manage many problems alone, and you know yourself and the way your mind works better. You grow as a person and slowly get used to adulthood.

Moving out from home is a crucial element in growing up and learning to stand on your own feet but doing so in a pandemic forces you to really spend time with yourself since you cannot escape the situation. Because of the amount of time you spend alone you will be struggling to find a way that makes this new episode in life fun. Even if this personal development is uncomfortable at first, it is in fact the same as it says: Diamonds are built under a lot of pressure. As you are forced to survive this episode in life, there will always be a better time where you can shine with the qualities you developed.

The German Government and Corona

By Steven

The CDU and SPD in Berlin, Germany’s current two reigning parties have handled the Corona Crisis both well and badly thus far. They handled the crisis well in that they shut meeting places, such as playgrounds, restaurants, schools and many other places for four weeks. The probability of infecting other people was low because Germany’s citizens were only allowed to interact in restricted places. Neither were they allowed to meet with more than one person in public. The German government limited interactions to no more than one other person in public. This ban, including the restriction to enter certain places has been beneficial because the rate of infection has decreased in Germany since March. When the virus was detected in Heinzberg, the German government reacted fast. That prevented the high infection rates seen in Italy, Spain or the USA. In this regard, the German state has done a good job and payed attention to the safety and health of Germany’s citizens.

Unfortunately, some people in Germany died of Covid-19, like in other countries in the world. 1/3 of the dead people in general were in homes for the elderly. Nearly all of the other 2/3 had had an illness before they were infected or were older than 60 years old. This shows that these patients-at-risks can easily die of the virus. Only have a few people who were not risk patients died of Corona. We only know this fact since the government in Berlin has collaborated well with virologists.

The small number of dead people who were not at-risk is due to the fact that the CDU and SPD have always paid attention to the doctor’s suggestions, like a safety distance of 1.5 meters. Therefore, not as many people have died so far as in Italy or Spain. If Merkel and her cabinet had not listened to the doctors and reacted fast, the rate of infected people would probably be higher. In comparison to the USA, Germany has done a decent job. There are more than 350,000 infected people in New York State alone. These are approximately 150,000 people more in one state than in total in Germany. Since Trump does not pay attention to doctors and believes that someone can probably cure the virus by injecting disinfectants, the rate of infections is as high as it is now in the USA.

However, the CDU and SPD in Berlin have not dealt with the pandemic well in every regard. They neglected some of the destitute. They neglected, the homeless, those who rely on “Die Tafel” for meals and have little access to medical care. Because of COVID-19, the organization shut many of their halls, so those people had to buy food from grocery stores. In this case, the state should have intervened and allowed “Die Tafel” to leave all their halls open. Since some of the people who depend on “Die Tafel” had to spend money in grocery stores, they struggled with paying their rent for their apartment. If the lockdown had gone longer, i.e. leaving “Die Tafel’s” halls and public places shut, a property owner could have thrown some of these destitute out of their apartment. Then, they would have been in a worse situation than they were during the lockdown. As far as I know, this has not happened so far, and “Die Tafel” has re-opened many of their halls because the number of infected people has decreased.

A further reason why the German government has not always reacted well is that the government reopened too many public spaces at the same time. This increases the risk of infections. Within two weeks, barbershops, playgrounds, schools and gyms opened with restrictions, but they opened again. Children can go to a playground, and five people from two different families can meet in public. As all these places are open again, there are many people on the street again, and this within a short period. This fast development cannot be controlled everywhere at the same time. Police and safety guards cannot check everywhere at the same time if people stick to the 1.5 meters safety distance. Despite the fact that Christian Drosten emphasized the importance of this distance several times, there are some people in my hometown who ignore this distance. Hence, the risk of infections has increased within a short period. This is why the German state should not have reopened as many places as it did. It would have been better if the German state had reopened less places at once and if the state had watched if the rate of infections will de- or increase.

In the end, it is difficult to say whether the German government has handled the Covid-19 pandemic well or not thus far. I think that Germany has done quite well so far because there are fewer rates of infections than in other countries. We will see within the next few months, how the current rates of infections will develop, and what further decisions CDU and SPD will make.

Pandemic Journal: Essen, July 2020

By Melissa Knox-Raab

Knox-Raab in corona fashion – perfume by isopropyl alcohol

1. Five minutes of CNN Covid coverage makes me feel like running into the bathroom and following Sanjay Gupta’s method: scrubbing the backs of my hands, between fingers, grabbing and twisting soapsuddy thumbs, and pushing the tap off with my elbow. I know I’m here, where the curve’s flat as a pancake, but American statistics make me feel like the virus can vault through the TV screen and get me.

2. Right now, I’m thinking of a John Donne poem:

When my grave is broke ope again
Some second guest to entertain . . .

New York used refrigerated trucks. In Donne’s day, they just dug up a grave and dumped in another customer.

3. When Miranda Bailey, chief of surgery at Gray-Sloan Memorial Hospital on Grey’s Anatomy gives a patient a dangerous bug, the fault lies in the cheaper brand of latex gloves the hospital had ordered in a misguided effort to save money.

4. The governor of Florida now claims there’ s plenty of PPE around. Meanwhile, medical professionals end up, at best, like Miranda Bailey: with a shrink who prescribes anti-anxiety pills.

5. In a stuffy office today–windows were closed–I asked the lawyers to wear masks. I was wearing a mask. One of them pulled her mask off her chin and covered up, all the while complaining, “it’s really hard to understand you when you’re wearing a mask.” The other– hawk-nosed, shock of white hair flopping intentionally–stared right through me. Maskless, he held forth like a winner at Toastmaster’s International throwing in a few words about the new alliance with the Rotary Club. He spoke for forty-five minutes.

6. Richard Quest, his signature rasp still intact, described the symptoms he keeps asking his doctors about. The breathlessness. The weakness. The pain. Now that he’s been cured for weeks, when will these symptoms stop coming and going? “We don’t know, Richard,” say his doctors.

7. When I went to the gym yesterday, the nice bearded trainer, the one who doesn’t follow the rules, let me in a whole twelve minutes early. There were only three people in the gym, whose capacity, when we all stick to designated areas on the floor marked with yellow tape, is seven. When the two people who enforce the rules are around—“No, you can’t go in for another four and a half minutes!”—everyone’s stuck breathing on each other in a grubby foyer right in front of the (spacious, windows-wide-open) gym.

8. The form I was trying to get the lawyers to help with is, according to them, “really complicated.” This is Germany.

9. The nice lady behind me in the Edeka line inquired where I’d gotten my plastic face shield. Turning to answer, I forgot about social distancing. Good thing that thin, impregnable plastic stood between me and a friendly conversation.