Germany sees significant drop in new Covid-19 cases but deaths remain high
The incidence of new coronavirus infections in Germany has reached its lowest level in more than two months, signalling that lockdown measures are working.
On Thursday morning, the number of Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents in seven days (the 7-day incidence) stood at 119.0 - the lowest level since November 1st.
The 7-day incidence has fallen continuously over the past 10 days. It had reached the highest peak shortly before Christmas on December 22nd, with 197.6 new cases per 100,000 people in seven days.
However, there are large differences between federal states: the highest incidences are in Thuringia with 225.0 and Brandenburg with 203.3. The lowest number is in Bremen with 76.6.
German health offices reported 20,398 new coronavirus infections within one day to the RKI on Thursday morning. A total of 1,013 people died from or with Covid-19 during this time period.
As The Local has been reporting, Germany decided on new tougher measures over fears of Covid-19 variants spreading throughout Germany.
The government and states have been optimistic about the current trends, though.
In their decision paper from Tuesday January 19th, the government and states said it was "clear that the restrictions have been taking effect since December 16th and that new infection figures are declining".
They said the burden on hospitals and intensive care units is "now slightly declining" but is still at a high level. Merkel and state leaders said they were grateful and thanked residents for their "sensible behaviour" during the Christmas holidays.
However, they said there were challenges ahead, including vaccine supplies and dealing with the virus variants.
The aim is to get the 7-day incidence down to 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
Germany has been in a state of shutdown since November, with restrictions getting progressively tougher.
They said that "preventative action" had to be taken to limit the spread of the variants in Germany as much as possible.
What else should we know?
Exactly a week ago, the RKI recorded 25,164 infections and 1,244 deaths - the highest level so far - within 24 hours. The highest number of new infections registered within 24 hours - 33,777 - was reported on December 18th, but this figure included a late report of 3,500 cases from the previous day.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has reported 2,088,400 proven infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Germany.
The actual total number is likely to be much higher, as many infections go undetected. The total number of people who died from or with Covid-19 stood at 49,783 on Thursday. Around 1,762 200 people have recovered.
The nationwide seven-day reproductive number on Thursday was 0.87 (previous day: also 0.87), according to the RKI situation report on Wednesday evening.
This means that 100 infected people go on to infect about 87 others. The value represents the number of infections 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a longer period of time, the incidence of infection is decreasing.