IN NUMBERS: What is the current coronavirus situation around Germany?

Germany is observing a slight drop in new Covid-19 cases. Here's where cases are the highest (and lowest) and what the data means.

IN NUMBERS: What is the current coronavirus situation around Germany?
The city centre of Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, which currently has a seven-day-incidence of 181.9. Photo: DPA

Over the last 24 hours, German health offices recorded a total of 10,272 new coronavirus infections, or 30 less than the previous week, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Authorities also reported 640 deaths from or with the virus in the past 24 hours. The previous day the figure was 100 less, whereas 50 more cases were reported on Thursday a week ago.

According to the RKI, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants reported within seven days (7-day-incidence) was 57.1 nationwide, slightly higher than the previous day (57).

This tweet gives an overview of some numbers around Germany: the seven-day-incidence in the eastern state of Thuringia has gone up, whereas it's stayed below 50 in other states including Berlin.

The nationwide seven-day reproductive number (R number) as of Wednesday evening stood at 0.85 (previous day 0.84). The value means that 100 infected people go on to infect on average 85 more people.

In total, 2,362,952 people in Germany are reported to have contracted coronavirus since the pandemic began. A total of 67,173 people have died with a Covid-19 infection.

READ ALSO: Mass testing v lockdown: How France and Germany's approaches to Covid radically diverged

Where in Germany is the most affected by the virus?

Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday recorded the most new infections within one day, or 1,811, according to the RKI. 

Bavaria, the largest state in terms of land area, reported 1,209 total new infections.

The following map (credit: DPA) shows the districts with the highest seven day incidence around Germany as of Wednesday.

In Lower Saxony, there were 1,094 new cases, followed by Baden-Württemberg with 886 new cases. 

Comparing cities and counties, Berlin had the most new infections in one day – 443. Twenty districts reported no new infections on Thursday.

The highest number of deaths reported from the virus on Thursday was in North Rhine-Westphalia (134), followed by Bavaria (105) and Lower Saxony (73).

Among the cities and counties, the district of Passau in Bavaria and Recklinghausen in North Rhine-Westphalia reported the largest number of deaths from or with the virus, or 26 each.

Berlin recorded 25 deaths from or with the virus in the last 24 hours.

What do the new figures mean?

The new figures suggest that the decline in infection figures observed for weeks is coming to a halt. However, a reliable assessment will only be possible in a few days. 

Experts point out that, due to extreme weather conditions over the past week and a half, some people may have visited a doctor or a test centre later than usual, and new infections may therefore have been recorded with a delay.

Germany is pushing to get the seven-day-incidence below 35 in order to reopen public life, and some states such as Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein have already made proposals for openings based on this number.

READ ALSO: How Bavaria plans to reopen after Covid shutdown

Some state leaders are hopeful of a gradual reopening of public life as of March 7th, when Germany's current shutdown is set to end, but others are more cautious about making plans before seeing how current figures develop.

It is not yet possible to predict how the more contagious variant B.1.1.7 will develop, and how this could impact infection figures going forward.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) warned that the UK variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, and now accounts for more than one in five new cases in Germany.

READ ALSO: UK coronavirus variant spreading rapidly in Germany, warns health minister

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German vaccines commission recommends fourth Covid jab for over-60s

Germany's Standing Vaccines Commission (STIKO) has issued a recommendation for all over-60s in Germany to get a fourth Covid vaccination.

German vaccines commission recommends fourth Covid jab for over-60s

Previously, STIKO had only suggested a second booster – or fourth Covid jab – for people aged 70 or over, or people aged five and over with weakend immune systems and a particular high risk of a severe course of illness.

People with compromised immune systems are still advised to seek out a fourth dose of the vaccine. 

The vaccines panel announced on Thursday that it was expanding its recommendation “with the primary aim of providing particularly at-risk individuals with even better protection against severe Covid 19 diseases and Covid 19-related deaths”. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: Can I get a second Covid booster jab in Germany?

As a general rule, the fourth dose of vaccine should be an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer/BioNTech and should be administered no sooner than six months after the third dose or last Covid infection.

In some “justified” cases, this can be shortened to four months.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) welcomed the news on Thursday, stating that the recommendation was “overdue”. 

“I definitely advise citizens over 60 to follow STIKO’s advice and not wait for the new vaccines,” Lauterbach told t-online, referring to a new set of vaccines designed specifically to combat infections with Omicron subtypes BA.4 and BA.5. 

The number of cases and deaths is still too high, he added. “The vaccines available in Germany, however, reliably protect against death and severe progression of the virus.”

READ ALSO: German Health Minister calls on under 60s to get next Covid jab