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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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Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.