These days you want to be able to look into the future. Not far. Perhaps a week is enough to answer the question of whether we are reacting too hysterically because of the first confirmed coronavirus case in Berlin. Or, conversely, maybe even underestimate the danger?

Is it crazy to buy lots of pasta and mashed tomatoes in stock now, as many Berliners do to close the empty shelves in supermarkets? Or just a minimum of foresight in uncertain times, the end of which may be completely open?

In the meantime, viruses officially appear in Berlin that trigger an illness that can be fatal for some. It is not surprising that this has happened. It was clear that the coronavirus would not stop in NRW or Baden-Wurttemberg or Hamburg. And yet the uncertainty remains considerable. And so the instructions for thorough hand hygiene, which are now increasingly being given out again in companies and schools, seem sensible and helpless at the same time.

It is reassuring that the Berliners have mostly stayed cool so far. In the subway, you try to avoid sitting too close together, but nobody jumps in panic when someone coughs. Hardly anyone wears publicly the face masks that are sold out everywhere. And the corona telephone numbers of the health insurance companies have so far been dialed relatively rarely.

What else happens?

So everything as usual in Berlin, apart from a few hamster purchases? Yes. Still … But the tension is palpable. A lot depends on the next few days. How many cases are discovered, how many people have to be quarantined, which events are still canceled after the International Tourism Exchange?

It is also important to choose the words: to speak of an “epidemic”, as it sometimes happens, is absurd. The term “epidemic” should also be used with caution. Maybe we’ll know more in a week. And then maybe a hint of spring can be felt. It is supposed to kill viruses.

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