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GERMAN LANGUAGE

‘Vaccinate quickly’: German states seeing surge in Delta variant Covid cases

Covid-19 cases have been falling in Germany - but the Delta variant of the virus is on the rise. Experts are hammering home the importance of getting the jab.

'Vaccinate quickly': German states seeing surge in Delta variant Covid cases
A 14-year-old in Weimar receiving the first vaccine dose in June. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

Some German states are reporting that the share of the variant in new infections has increased noticeably. New figures on the nationwide situation from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) are expected soon.

It is thought that the super contagious variant, initially discovered in India, has continued to spread in many parts of Germany – although it has so far remained at a low level overall.

In light of the development, high-profile virologist Christian Drosten advocates raising awareness of the importance of vaccination.

“That’s really what we need to do now,” the expert from Berlin’s Charité hospital said on the Coronavirus Update podcast (NDR-Info).

He did not specify whether Germany could experience a rise in cases in summer, like has been seen in the UK.

In any case, the incidence rate will surge again in autumn, Drosten said, stressing the importance of vaccination among parents of school children.

“We just have to vaccinate quickly,” Drosten said. If this is not enough it will again be necessary to counteract with contact restrictions, he added. “But there are also good reasons to think that this will not be necessary in Germany.”

On Wednesday, the nationwide incidence stood at 7.2 infections per 100,000 residents in seven days (previous day: 8.0; previous week: 13.2). Germany reported 1,016 new infections within a day (previous week: 1,455) and 51 deaths.

More than 51 percent of the German population has received at least one vaccine dose, and around 31.6 percent are fully jabbed. 

READ ALSO: Delta variant – how worried should Germany be about a new wave of cases? 

States reporting rise in Delta

On Tuesday, some German states reported that the proportion of the variant had surged in their states. In Hesse, it already accounts for more than one-fifth of new infections, according to health minister Kai Klose (Greens). “We do have clear indications that Delta is already dominating over 20 percent of cases in Hesse as well,” he said.

In Bavaria, the number of confirmed infections with the Delta variant has almost doubled in the course of a week – from 132 to 229 cases, according to state chancellery head Florian Herrmann (CSU).

In some laboratories, the proportion is now almost a quarter.

READ ALSO: Nearly a quarter of new Covid infections in Munich area ’caused by Delta variant’

In Baden-Württemberg it is also spreading rapidly – but at a low level. According to the state health office on Monday, the number of Delta variant cases logged variant (up until June 21st) is around 368.

There have also been reports of outbreaks throughout the country, including at a housing block in Dresden that saw residents forced to quarantine, as well as in schools and nurseries. 

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) recently said it was not a question of if, but when Delta would determine the incidence of infection in Germany.

The proportion of the Delta variant in a random sample had last been just over six percent nationwide (week of May 31st to June 6th), according to RKI data.

This was an increase compared to the previous weeks, but the trend in the absolute number of detected cases is downward. The RKI’s new viral variant report is expected Wednesday evening. Delta is already the dominant variant in the UK, accounting for almost all new cases.

Target vaccination sceptics

The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, called for a stronger approach to “vaccination sceptics and vaccination deniers”.

READ ALSO: German health experts warn against travel to Delta variant areas

“If we do not also convince part of this group of the sense of vaccination, we will not achieve herd immunity,” Montgomery told the Editorial Network Germany. Referring to the Delta variant, he explained, “Those who don’t get vaccinated will sooner or later become infected with the coronavirus.”

Drosten said his lab data shows initial indications that people infected with Delta have an even higher viral load than those infected with the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) – first detected in the UK.

Drosten said research suggests the Delta variant causes slightly more severe courses of illness. However, he said, the protection against a severe course of the disease for fully vaccinated individuals is equivalent compared with the Alpha variant, which is still dominant in Germany.

However, protection with only one vaccine dose is considered weaker against Delta than against earlier forms of the virus.

Vocabulary

Spread – ausgebreitet

Contagious – ansteckend

Vaccination sceptics – (die) Impfskeptiker

Vaccination deniers (die) Impfleugner

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

Member comments

  1. There are not enough doses to innoculate people willing to be vaccinated. That should be the focus right now. How are you going to convince an anti-vaxer to be vaccinated if you cannot even offer it?

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GERMAN LANGUAGE

The seven stages of learning German every foreigner goes through

German is a notoriously difficult language to learn and the path to fluency is marked by milestones that every budding German speaker will recognise.

The seven stages of learning German every foreigner goes through

Stage 1: Terror

You’ve just set foot on German soil and are ready to begin your new life in the Bundesrepublik. While you may have left home feeling excited and full of enthusiasm for learning the German language, you now find yourself in a world of alarmingly long and confusing words containing strange symbols which are impossible to pronounce.

You’re confronted with long words like Ausländerbehörde, Aufenthaltsbescheinigung, and Wohnungsanmeldung and the prospect of having to get to grips with a language whose average word contains 14 letters slowly dawns on you. It’s terrifying.

Tip: Don’t panic. At first, learning German can seem like a daunting prospect, but as you start to take your first baby steps into the language, you’ll soon realise it’s not as bad as you think. And those long words are just lots of smaller words squashed together.

READ ALSO: 10 German words that strike fear into the hearts of language learners

Stage 2: Determination

You’ve got over the initial shock of realising the true scale of the linguistic mountain you’ll have to climb to learn German – and you resolve to conquer it.

You enrol in a language course and arm yourself with grammar books and language learning apps, and you start making progress very quickly. You realise that a lot of German words have the same roots as their English cousins and that words and phrases are sticking in your head more quickly than you expected. The flames of optimism begin to grow.

A couple practices the German language. Photo: Annika Gordon/Unsplash

Tip: Keep up that spirit and persist with the grammar books and vocab learning, ideally on a daily basis and start speaking the language as much as you can – even if it’s just reading aloud to yourself. 

Stage 3: Obsession

Spurred on by your new ability to introduce yourself, talk about the weather and tell people about your pets, you launch an all-out assault on the German language.

READ ALSO: How to remember the gender of German words

You’ve got post-it notes filled with vocab stuck all over your flat, you’ve got three tandem partners and Tagesschau is blasting 24/7 from your Laptop.

You are now officially obsessed with the German language.

Tip: Don’t be too hard on yourself once this phase of unbridled enthusiasm burns out. Though it’s great to have a period of immersion in the long-run, regular learning – even for shorter periods – is the key to progress.

Stage 4: Experimentation

You’ve now got a solid base of internal vocab and you’ve got to grips with the most important grammar rules. You can use the dative and genitive cases with increasing ease and you’re using modal verbs on a regular basis. 

You now feel ready to road-test your new language skills in the big wide world. You don’t ask Sprechen Sie englisch? (do you speak English?) any more and instead try to communicate only in German. 

Tip: Bolster this experimentation phase by consuming more German media. Listen to German podcasts, check out German TV shows and try to read the news in German. 

READ ALSO: Tatort to Temptation Island: What do Germans like to watch on TV?

Stage 5: Frustration

Just as you were starting to gain confidence in the language, you hit a brick wall. You spent an evening in the company of German speakers, or you attended a meeting at work where you found yourself fumbling for vocabulary and stumbling over grammar.

You can’t, for the life of you, remember whether it’s der, die or das Licht even though you’ve looked it up at least a hundred times. 

A German dictionary. Photo: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

What’s the point, you ask yourself. You want to give up and just switch to speaking English permanently, as everyone you meet seems to speak perfect English anyway.

Tip: Everyone feels like this at some point when learning a new language and it’s likely to happen more than once on your language-learning journey. Keep going and don’t compare your German language skills with the English skills of German natives. Remember that most Germans have grown up listening to songs and watching films in English, so it will take you a bit longer to get to grips with German in the same way. 

Stage 6: Breakthrough

You’re not quite sure what’s happened, but something seems to have clicked. You’re suddenly using the right past participles 90 percent of the time and you’re using reflexive verbs with ease. People are rarely switching to English when speaking to you and you’re understanding almost everything you see and hear.

READ ALSO: Six ways to fall in love with learning German again

Tip: Remember this feeling when you are revisited by frustration in the future. 

Stage 7: Acceptance

You still make mistakes, you don’t know all of the words in the German dictionary, and you still mix up der, die and das – but it’s ok. You’ve come a long way and you accept that your German will probably never be perfect and that the learning process will be a lifelong pursuit. 

Tip: The more you use the language, the more you’ll improve. Keep reading, speaking and listening and, one day, it won’t even feel like an effort anymore. 

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