Dozens of German districts and cities see major drop in Covid-19 cases

Every fourth district in Germany has a 7-day incidence below the 100 mark, signalling again that the country is starting to break through the Covid third wave.

Dozens of German districts and cities see major drop in Covid-19 cases
A dog-walker in Flensburg where the infection rate is lowest in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Molter

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.

READ ALSO: ‘Summer will be good’: Has Germany broken the third wave

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.

READ ALSO: ‘No all clear’: What Germany’s falling Covid numbers say about the third wave

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.

Member comments

  1. “The current corona numbers are so far due to the functioning emergency brake and not to the vaccinations.”
    So the national emergency brake was signed into law on 22-Apr and was mostly applied days later. The numbers have been falling for some days now. It would seem this has very little to do with their emergency brake. But then again since when have facts mattered – particularly when the obedient media roles over for a tummy tickle.

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Germany’s third virus wave ‘appears to have broken’, says Health Minister

Germany seems to have halted a surge of coronavirus infections driven by the British variant, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Friday, cautioning however against lifting restrictions precipitously.

Germany's third virus wave 'appears to have broken', says Health Minister
Spahn speaking at a press conference on Friday May 7th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

“The third wave appears to have broken,” Spahn told a press conference in Berlin.

READ ALSO: IN DETAIL: These are Germany’s planned freedoms for Covid-vaccinated people

“The infection figures are dropping again, but we are still at a high level. They are not yet falling everywhere at the same rate, but they are falling,” he said.

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute health agency recorded 18,485 new infections in the past 24 hours on Friday — compared with 27,543 on the same day two weeks ago.

The number of new infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days stood at 125.7.

Under national virus measures introduced in April, areas with incidence rates below 100 are allowed to begin easing some restrictions.

But Spahn warned that easing curbs too much too soon “would only help the virus”.

“In this phase of the pandemic, it is really a matter of not gambling away what has been achieved,” he said.

The so-called emergency brake rules prescribe strict curbs in areas with rates above 100, including sweeping shutdowns, contact restrictions and overnight curfews.

But the Bundesrat upper house of parliament on Friday approved new legislation to lift some curbs for fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid-19.

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht called the move “a very important step towards more normality”.

‘Urgent need’

From Sunday, they would no longer have to abide by curfews or limits on social contacts.

Berlin’s mayor Michael Müller admitted that it was going to be “damn difficult to check” the curbs are lifted only to those who fall under these categories.

But he argued that “this is about fundamental rights, and they can only be restricted when there is an urgent need to do so”.

After a slow start, Germany began accelerating its vaccination campaign in April and last week gave the jab to more than one million people in one day.

Some 31.5 percent of the population have received at least one injection by Friday.

Spahn said Thursday that Germany will aim to offer Covid-19 vaccines to all children aged 12 and over by the end of August once a jab is approved for younger people by the European regulator.

It has also opened up the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone who wants it.

The AstraZeneca jab had previously been recommended only for people aged 60 and older following concerns over blood clotting cases among younger recipients of the vaccine.

READ ALSO: Germany gives green light to offer AstraZeneca to all adults