Where I get Covid News

Somebody asked where I get my Covid news for Germany, so I figured I would do a link-dump here.

Outside of Germany, you can’t do better than Zvi’s weekly roundup. Not only does he cover all the important news, but it is cathartic to read his howls of bewildered rage at the incompetence of everybody in power.

Inside Germany, nobody has quote the same combination of facts and righteous indignation. I therefore end up mostly following official data sources, and quietly fuming to myself.

The basic figures come from the Robert Koch Institute, in particular the situation report which they put out each day around 6pm. Completionists might also care about their vaccination updates and case dashboard, for slightly timelier and more complete data. As for vaccine deliveries from the manufacturers, the information is split messily between the health ministry website and their vaccination dashboard.

Each state also provides its own data. I only ever check Berlin, where the status report is updated at about 1630 each day.

Some of the numbers in these reports need a health warning. Calculations of r, in particular, are mostly bogus. In spring 2000 they began calculating it averaged over 4 days. It soon became obvious that day-of-week effects made this number misleading. But by then it had become an expected part of the reporting, and nobody has managed to change it yet. My cynical side suspects this is because a number which oscillates on a weekly basis lets everybody quote a high or a low number by picking the day which supports their prejudices.

The RKI does report a 7-day r value. Even this, though, is a bit of a mess. In particular, and by the RKI’s own admission, it has been systematically too low. They calculate it based on estimated day of infection, not of reporting.

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