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IN NUMBERS: Where are Covid-19 cases going up (and down) in Germany?

The infection rate is increasing in Germany - but there are some positive trends. Here's a look at the current situation across the country.

IN NUMBERS: Where are Covid-19 cases going up (and down) in Germany?
A closed beer garden and restaurant in Bremen on Thursday. Photo: DPA

On Thursday, Germany logged 29,518 coronavirus infections within the last 24 hours – the highest number of daily infections since the beginning of the third wave, and an increase of 0.3 percent from the previous week.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) points out that the number of new infections on Thursday may include late reports from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) from the previous day.

According to the RKI, 259 new deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours.

On Thursday last week there were 29,426 new Covid-19 infections logged within one day, as well as 293 new deaths.

What’s the 7-day incidence rate?

According to the RKI, the number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 residents was 161.1 nationwide on Thursday morning.

The day before, the incidence was 160.1. According to the RKI, it is too early to tell if the rising 7-day incidence of the past days will continue.

Germany uses this number to decide when measures should be tightened, although other factors are also considered such as the capacity of intensive care units.

READ ALSO: German parliament passes disputed national virus law amendment

How’s it looking across the regions?

There are some big differences. Let’s go with the good news first. Things are looking very good in Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, which has managed to get the number of cases per 100,000 people in seven days down to around 70.9. It’s the only state in Germany that’s manage to keep the incidence below 100.

In Hamburg, the 7-day incidence has been brought down to around 109 from around 164 at the end of March. As we reported, the city mainly stuck to the ’emergency brake’ rules – including a curfew – agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the states at Covid crisis talks.

ANALYSIS: Is Hamburg proof that an ’emergency brake’ can get Covid-19 cases down?

Many states decided to go their own way and not implement the tougher measures, resulting in the government amending a law to enforce nationwide restrictions.

German journalist Olaf Gersemann posted on Twitter how Hamburg’s incidence rate has decreased. In Saarland, which opted to open up public life with Covid testing requirements, the 7-day incidence rose from around 87 to 153 in a few weeks.

The worst-hit states are the eastern-states of Thuringia (with a 7-day incidence of around 232) and Saxony (incidence of around 201).

All other states have 7-day incidence rates of under 200, but above 100.

When it comes to districts, currently around 406 out of 412 districts have a 7-day incidence above 50, reported the RKI on Wednesday night.

The 7-day incidence in around 351 districts is above 100 Covid cases per 100,000 residents in seven days. Stricter measures, such as curfews and shop closures, will come into force in these places due to the government’s new nationwide ’emergency brake’ rules.

Of those districts, around 47 have more than 250 cases per 100,000 residents.

The map below by DPA gives an idea of the situation across Germany. The dark purple and dark red areas are the worst-hit places.

Where are infections happening?

The RKI says infections are spreading particularly in households, social gatherings, in workplaces as well as in daycare and schools.

More young people are getting infected. On Wednesday a record 4,456 infections were reported in the under 15s age group. That’s around a 15 percent increase from the previous week.

Who’s been vaccinated?

The latest data shows around 21.6 percent of the population has received at least one Covid vaccine jab – 17.9 million people. Around 5.7 million people are fully inoculated with both jabs.

Experts say we are beginning to see the success of the vaccines.

People over the age of 80 – who have largely been vaccinated – accounted for just 2.6 percent of new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday – a record low. Those in the 60-79 year-old age group accounted for about 12.6 percent of new cases, which is also below what would be expected. States are vaccinating this age group now.

READ MORE: ‘First success’ : Is Germany’s accelerated vaccine rollout impacting the third wave?

The number of people dying from the virus also appears to be going down, likely because less older people are becoming infected.

The tweet below says that the mortality rate in Germany for coronavirus cases is continuing to go down. Around 2.51 percent of those infected have died so far – the lowest number since January 27th.

“The reason for the downward trend is probably the declining proportion of the very old among the cases,” said Welt journalist Olaf Gersemann.

What’s the big picture?

The RKI has reported 3,217,710 Covid infections in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic. The actual total number is likely to be significantly higher as many infections are not detected.

The total number of people who have died with Covid-19 rose to 80,893 on Thursday.

The nationwide seven-day reproductive number (R-value) was 0.94 according to the RKI situation report from Wednesday evening (previous day: 0.95).

This means that 100 infected people go on to infect on average 94 more people.

The R-value represents the occurrence of the infection 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a longer period of time, the infection process subsides; if it is consistently higher, the number of cases goes up.

What’s the situation in hospitals?

Medical staff have been warning in recent weeks that some intensive care units in Germany are reaching their limit.

The RKI says in its latest report, on April 21st, there were 4,987 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units on April 21st – an increase of 21 on the previous day. Around 2,772 people were receiving ventilation.

Member comments

  1. It’s important to note that schools have started testing all students Mondays and Thursdays in Berlin, so that would be why under 15s have an increasing rate as they are all being tested now. Not sure if this is throughout the whole country, but the numbers are also going up because of this.

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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.