New Covid infections in Germany drop below critical incidence of 100
For the first time since mid-March, Germany’s Covid-19 incidence has sunk below the critical value of 100 new infections per 100,000 people in seven days.
On Friday morning, the 7-day incidence stood at 96.5, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The first time such a low level was reached was on March 20th.
On Thursday, the 7-day incidence was 103.6, down from 125.7 on Friday a week ago. Only a few weeks ago on April 26th, the nationwide infection rate reached a peak level for 2021, with a 7-day incidence of 169.3.
Also on Friday morning, the RKI reported 11,336 new coronavirus infections within 24 hours, compared with 18,485 a week ago.
According to the data, 190 new deaths from or with the virus were recorded in Germany within 24 hours. A week ago, there had been 284 deaths.
The state with the lowest number of infections is Schleswig-Holstein, with a 7-day incidence of 43. Yet a few clearly lie over the critical incidence: North Rhine-Westphalia (103), Saxony-Anhalt (103), Saarland (102), Saxony (134) and Thuringia (149).
The following DPA graph shows the 7-day incidence around Germany as of Friday morning.
Vaccines pick up speed
To date, more than a third of people in Germany have been vaccinated once, and one in 10 have received both doses.
Germany administered a record number of vaccinations in one day on Wednesday, with 1.35 million people around the country receiving their first or second jabs.
The vaccination rate is already helping to push down the reproduction rate, RKI president Lothar Wieler recently said. This number indicates how many people an infected person goes on to infect on average.
According to Wieler, for Germany to do away with all of its measures such as mask wearing, business closures or other restrictions, well over 80 percent of people would have to be immune to the virus - whether being fully vaccinated, receiving one dose or if they've recovered from the virus.
Experts stress that it still matters who gets vaccinated first in order to protect those most at risk. But Germany's Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) still sees gaps in groups such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
Epidemiologist André Karch of Münster University Hospital said that Germany needs to reach out to more vulnerable groups who are not actively seeking shots themselves.
Putting resources into this is urgent, he said. Softening the criteria and further including low priority groups may increase the "nice number" of first-time vaccinated people in the population, Karch said. But that doesn't help to the same extent as reaching the most vulnerable groups does, he said.