Since last weekend, my life has been remarkably unremarkable. Corona has arrived at my place too. Not the virus itself, fortunately, but the extent of this pandemic – and I have understood the seriousness of the situation. For example, why it is important to slow down the spread of Corona.

Shutdown – what are we actually missing?

Researchers will then have a little more time to develop a drug or a vaccine. It is also extremely helpful to keep the number of infected people as low as possible, and for as long as possible. It is clear that fewer patients can be treated more easily and better than masses of sick people.

For the whole of last week I had already kept out of public life as much as possible. I often followed the advice of the scientists on the side. Mostly I saw Prof. Lothar Wieler from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and Prof. Christian Drosten from the Berlin Charité. Both of them are almost more familiar to me right now than my son Anton, with whom I live. Due to the circumstances and the recommendations for behavior, Anton has also withdrawn very much – mostly to his own room.

What should I do? Berlin is almost standing still. The museums are closed, concerts are cancelled, clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants remain closed from 6 pm to at least 6 am, and you are still allowed to go to the parks. Still! I can’t remember if I was ever so much thrown back on myself as I am at the moment? Yes, you have! On a small island of a Maldivian atoll where I was once over 30 years ago. I only know a few Maldivian islands now, but I have never felt more superfluous than there. Today I would not go there voluntarily anymore. At the moment I realize that I hardly miss anything. The ideal chance to simply leave out everything I don’t miss in the future. If I succeed, then the virus will have brought me something.

Home office means: working independently

Since last week, I’ve been working in the home office. I like sitting at my own desk. Of course, there are situations in which one is more distracted than in the office. Believe me, it’s all a matter of practice. After 20 years of more or less intensive journalistic work at my own desk, I know my weaknesses that only ever become apparent at home. Where else? Washing laundry is not possible in the office. And washing dirty laundry… ? Not at all!

I swear by routine and always the same procedures. They form the framework, they give me security, even now in the crisis. In the past, when I had nothing to do as a journalist, which was rare, I kept the routine and the procedures – over the decades. Always getting up at the same time, having breakfast, reading the newspaper and news portals. Home office also means working independently. I’m used to it and can cope with the fact that it’s sometimes difficult. Routine and procedures help me not to lose focus.

Emergency situations are all about cohesion

Well, once a day I go shopping, diagonally across the street to the supermarket. Last weekend the hamster shopping started when it became known that schools and kindergartens, clubs, restaurants and pubs had to close. No flour, no toilet paper, even if it’s just a snack, you won’t find it. But what is funny is that I have never seen anybody with a shopping cart that was overfull. That would have been a real treat for me! Make eye contact, look strictly and keep eye contact. Then let your eyes wander back and forth between the cart and this insatiable person. Don’t say anything, just look. Oh yes, even looks can do something.

Emergency situations are all about sharing, about cohesion. No chance for selfish people! I wouldn’t want to travel anywhere at the moment either, if things are no longer predictable, then a familiar environment is helpful. Family, friends, colleagues and neighbours are important supporters. It is essential to rely on the state, the employer, social organisations, fellow human beings, functioning care systems, hospitals, doctors and so on – a functioning society. I don’t know where, if not here, I would be in better and better hands?


Wolfram Stahl

Wolfram Stahl

Press spokesperson Berlin

Press spokesperson in Berlin. Former radio editor, reporter and presenter at WDR in Cologne, then correspondent in Berlin. Someone who knows little about much and much about little. That’s why he’s a great jack-of all-trades, but pretty useless as a specialist. Special skill: to quickly become familiar with a topic. Motto: Just do it! And make it simple! For nothing is too complicated to be made comprehensible. And since impatience is one of his greatest strengths, doing things is easier than waiting anyway.

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