According to figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) disease control agency, 103 of Germany’s 412 districts and cities are reporting less than 100 Covid cases per 100,000 residents in seven days.
For comparison: a week ago just 57 districts were below the 100-mark incidence threshold.
If the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week is over 100 on three consecutive days in a district or city, ’emergency brake’ measures apply. These include curfews and stricter contact rules.
So what is going on in Germany’s regions?
As ever there are major regional differences, with 7-day incidences ranging from well below 50 to more than 550 in districts.
The situation looks particularly good in Flensburg, in Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, which has a 7-day incidence of just 32. The Saale-Orla district in eastern Thuringia has the highest incidence nationwide with 557 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
When it comes to states, the weekly number of cases per 100,000 residents in Schleswig-Holstein on Tuesday stood at just 57.
Hamburg (90) and Lower Saxony (98.6) are also below the 100 mark. But Thuringia with a 7-day incidence of 217 and Saxony with a value of 204 are significantly higher – and the worst-hit areas in Germany.
In Baden-Württemberg, the weekly number of Covid cases per 100,000 residents is 173.1, while Bavaria’s incidence is 140. North Rhine-Westphalia’s 7-day incidence is 153.7 infections per 100,000 people. Berlin’s 7-day incidence is 111.
The below graphic by DPA shows the districts with the weekly highest number of infections per 100,000 people. The areas in purple and dark red have the highest numbers, whereas the situation is easing in areas with lighter colours.
What’s the big picture?
There are positive signs when looking at the overall nationwide picture:
- On Tuesday health authorities in Germany reported 7,534 new coronavirus infections to the RKI within a day. Exactly a week ago, that number was 10,976
- The nationwide 7-day incidence was 141.4 – significantly lower than a week ago when it was at 167.6
- The situation has not worsened in intensive care units in the last few days although numbers remain high. Doctors have said they expect to see the number of ICU patients decrease in the coming weeks
- The nationwide 7-day reproductive number stands at 0.88 according to the RKI. This means that 100 infected people theoretically go on to infect 88 more people. If this number is below 1 for a longer period of time, infections go down
Experts say the lower numbers can be largely attributed to people changing their behaviour and cutting down on social contacts due to the emergency brake measures. Some of these tighter restrictions were brought in by states before the government made it a nationwide requirement.
Vaccinations are also having an effect, particularly when it comes to the decreasing amount of older people contracting coronavirus.
But SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach said the impact of vaccines on Covid infections will be seen later this month. He expects an exponential decrease in the number of coronavirus infections in mid or late May.
Lauterbach told the Münchner Merkur: “The current corona numbers are so far due to the functioning emergency brake and not to the vaccinations.
“That will only change when the quota of those vaccinated with at least one injection is between 40 and 60 percent.” This is likely to happen in Germany by the third or fourth week of May.
At the weekend Lauterbach said Germany had stopped the third wave, but there was still work to be done. He said when Covid-19 cases drop significantly, Germany will have “defeated” the third wave.
“The summer will be good,” he said.