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HEALTH

Germany sees more than 1,000 new coronavirus infections in a day

For the first time in three months, Germany has registered more than 1,000 confirmed coronavirus infections in 24 hours.

Germany sees more than 1,000 new coronavirus infections in a day
Photo: DPA

A total of 1,045 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Germany by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within a day, the disease control agency said on Thursday August 6th.

The last time the number of new infections rose above 1,000 was on May 7th. The numbers steadily fell after that. However, in the past week the rate has been rising.

The peak of new infections came at the beginning of April when Germany saw more than 6,000 new cases in a day.

READ ALSO: 'Target clusters and superspreaders': Here's how Germany could prevent a second coronavirus wave

Where are the new cases?

In contrast to mid-June, when increases could be traced back to individual hotspots like large coronavirus outbreak at the Tönnies slaughterhouse in North Rhine-Westphalia, the current spike is not mainly due to particular clusters.

Instead the figures are rising across many districts and this effect adds up. Experts fear this kind of development because it can't be contained with a handful of strong measures.

RKI President Lothar Wieler said last week that the rise in cases was of “great concern” to him.

“It's in our hands how the pandemic evolves in Germany,” Wieler said, calling on Germans to stick with prevention measures such as washing hands and keeping a safe distance.

Experts are continually warning about a second wave of coronavirus sweeping through Germany.

However, opinions differ as to whether this wave is already here – and whether the best way to describe the situation is in “waves”.

READ ALSO: The second coronavirus wave has already hit Germany, doctors warn

This week children went back to school in some states and authorities are watching closely how this affects infection rates.

On Thursday, almost 240,000 school kids in Hamburg started school again. Pupils in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania returned from their summer holidays on Monday. Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin, Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia will follow next week.

How many people have contracted Covid-19 in Germany?

According to the RKI, at least 213,067 people in Germany are confirmed to have picked up the Sars-CoV-2 virus since the beginning of the pandemic (data status as of August 6th at midnight).

The number of deaths in connection with the virus is 9,175. A total of 195,200 people have survived the infection.

READ ALSO: 'The situation is worrying': Germany sees rise in coronavirus infections

According to RKI, the reproductive rate, or R-value for short, is around 0.9 in Germany (previous day: 1.02). This means that on average, one infected person infects around one other person. The R number reflects the course of infection about one and a half weeks earlier.

The RKI also gives a so-called seven-day R. It refers to a longer period and is less subject to daily fluctuations. According to RKI estimates, this number is 0.97 (previous day: 0.99). It shows the course of infection from 8 to 16 days ago.

Experts want to keep the R number under 1.

Measures including wearing masks on public transport and while shopping are in place in Germany. The RKI also recommended last week that face masks should be worn not only indoors, but also outdoors, if the  recommended 1.5-metre distancing cannot be maintained.

Member comments

  1. To those thinking about not wearing a mask, or going out to protest over government mandates in your area(s), just look at the US and specifically southern states like Florida, Georgia, and Texas (my home state) and ask yourself do you really want your country looking like any of the aforementioned??

    Do you want to risk your hospitals being overwhelmed to the point that the doctors are forced turn away people?? Which is basically a death sentence?? Do you want so many bodies piled up to the point that refrigerated trucks have to be used as “mobile morgues” cause the traditional morgues are beyond capacity?? Do you really wanna risk bringing corona home to your loved ones; older relatives whose immune systems been compromised, or younger ones whose immune systems not yet developed, and inadvertently kill them in the process??

    All that and a lot more is happening here in the US, and people still so selfish and value “muh freedumb” more than thinking of the bigger picture, which is of course limiting the spread of corona, getting it under control, returning the US to some semblance of “normal”, and saving lives.

    Yes, I understand that the masks can be uncomfortable at times for some, and others just don’t want to wear them at all, but we need to stop just thinking about ourselves and focus on the bigger picture: containing and one day wiping out corona, so lets just tough it out for the greater good.

    TLDR: Just do it. Wear the masks. Social distance. Don’t end up like the US and have more innocent people die due to selfishness and greed.

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HEALTH

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point. 

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