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LATEST: Germany reports new coronavirus case record as fear of infection grows

On Friday morning Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) confirmed a new record number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, or 7,334 within the past 24 hours.

LATEST: Germany reports new coronavirus case record as fear of infection grows
People wearing masks in Nuremberg on Thursday. Photo: DPA

The number was up from the previous high record of 6,638 new cases which were registered on Thursday.  

There’s also a spike in the number of coronavirus patients who are being treated in intensive care. On Thursday, 655 patients with the virus were handled in intensive care units, and 329 received oxygen. 

READ ALSO: Germany reports 6,638 coronavirus cases – highest since start of pandemic

The previous week (October 8th) the number stood at 487, and 239 who received oxygen. 

There are currently around 8,700 free ICU beds in Germany, according to the official data. 

Since the beginning of the crisis a total of 348,557 people in Germany are confirmed to have contracted the virus, according to data from the RKI.

There have been a total 9,734 deaths resulting from the virus, 24 of which were registered in the last day. A total of 287,600 people have reported themselves to have recovered from the virus. 

The following graph shows where the most coronavirus infections around Germany have occurred over the last seven days. Photo: DPA

At the same time fears of becoming infected with the virus are again rising around Germany, according to a YouGov survey of 2,038 people across Germany published on Friday.

Forty three percent of people in Germany have a “very great” or “rather great fear” of catching the virus, up from 40 percent in July. Just under half of those surveyed said they were not afraid.

A full 72 percent also believe that the coronavirus situation in Germany is currently getting worse, with the majority of them of the opinion that the global crisis is not over yet. 

Seventy five percent of those surveyed believe that the situation will worsen; at the end of July, the figure was 66 percent. 

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COVID-19

Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

High profile German virologist Christian Drosten believes Germany will see a severe spike in Covid infections after summer, and that the pandemic will not become endemic this year.

Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

Drosten previously said that Germany would probably be able to declare the end of the pandemic this year.

But in an interview with Spiegel, Drosten said he had reevaluated his opinion. 

“When the Alpha variant came, it was very surprising for me. When Delta appeared I was sceptical at first, then with Omicron we had to reorient ourselves again. And since January there have already been new Omicron subtypes.

“So I would actually like to correct myself: I no longer believe that by the end of the year we will have the impression that the pandemic is over.”

READ ALSO: End is in sight for pandemic in Germany, says virologist 

Drosten also said that Germany will not see a largely Covid-free summer, which has been the case in previous years, and a further increase in infections in autumn. 

“We are actually already seeing an exponential increase in case numbers again,” Drosten said.

“The BA.5 variant (of Omicron) is simply very transmissible, and people are losing their transmission protection from the last vaccination at the same time.”

In other countries, he said, when the number of cases become high, hospitalisation and death rates also rise again. “Unfortunately, that will also be the case here,” said Drosten, but added: “Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021.”

Drosten said he expected many more infections from September.

“I hope that the school holidays will dampen the increase in cases somewhat. But from September, I fear we will have very high case numbers,” the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charité hospital told Spiegel.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister lays out autumn Covid plan

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021.

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

If the government does not take any action, he predicted there would be a lot of sick leave across all industries. “That will become a real problem,” he said.

Drosten said he did not expect overcrowded intensive care units in Germany.

But the new BA.5 sub-variant, which is becoming dominant in Germany, may affect people more strongly. 

“The wheel is turning more towards disease again,” said Drosten. It is not true that a virus automatically becomes more and more harmless in the course of evolution. “That makes me even more worried about the autumn,” he said.

Drosten recommends wearing masks indoors during the colder months, saying it is “the least painful” measure.

If, in addition, “up to 40 million people could be immunised or given a booster vaccination” before winter, for example by urgently calling for company vaccinations, that would “really make a difference”, Drosten said.

In the long term, he said it’s inevitable that people will become infected with coronavirus.

He said the population immunity due to vaccinations and infections will at some point be so strong that the virus will become less important. “Then we will be in an endemic state,” said Drosten. In the worst case, however, this could take “several more winters”.

However, Drosten warned against people trying to deliberately infect themselves with Covid, saying getting the infection in summer doesn’t mean people will be protected in winter. 

Drosten himself said he has not yet contracted Covid-19.

“So far, I guess I’ve just been lucky,” he said. “I rarely put myself in risky situations, but I’m not overly cautious either.”

‘Pandemic depends on behaviour’

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)’s latest weekly report, more outbreaks are occurring in care homes, and the number of patients in intensive care units is slightly rising as infections go up. 

The institute said there had been a 23 percent increase in the 7-day incidence compared to the previous week. On Friday the 7-day incidence stood at 618.2 infections per 100,000 people. There were 108,190 infections within the latest 24 hour period and 90 deaths. 

“The further course of the pandemic depends not only on the occurrence of new virus variants and the uptake of vaccinations on offer, it also depends to a large extent on the behaviour of the population,” said the RKI.

According to the DIVI intensive care register, the number of Covid-19 patients in ICUs had increased to 810 on Thursday this week, from about 600 at the beginning of the month.

However, that number is still low compared to previous Covid peaks when thousands of people were in intensive care in Germany. 

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