Despite an encouraging downward trend of Covid rates in Germany, the proportion of the Delta variant – B.1.617.2 – among cases is growing significantly.
A whole-genome sequencing analysis shows the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, now accounts for 15 percent of new infections, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) agency for disease control.
“The proportion of variant B.1.617.2 (Delta) continues to increase and the proportion of this VOC (variant of concern) doubled within one week,” the RKI said in its report released Wednesday night.
The table below from the RKI shows the share of virus variants of concern in Germany in recent weeks, with Alpha – which was first detected in the UK – dominating but going down as the Delta share rises.
The latest figures refer to the week of June 7th to 13th. The proportion for the week before was retroactively corrected from the original figure of about six percent to eight percent due to subsequent reports.
The data shows that the share of Delta in German cases has almost doubled for the third week in a row, going from 4 to 8 percent and now 15 percent.
“The current distribution of the variants in Germany shows that it can be expected that the VOC B.1.617.2 can be expected to prevail over the other variants,” the RKI said.
Experts have been fearing this rate of growth, which has also been observed in other countries. In the weeks before the rise, the proportion of Delta in Germany had remained at a constant low level, according to the RKI.
On Thursday Germany recorded 1,008 cases within 24 hours and 93 deaths. The 7-day incidence stands at just 6.6 cases per 100,000 people.
German health expert Karl Lauterbach said on Twitter it was “very clear that in autumn we will have another problem that will affect all those who have not been vaccinated and our children”.
Die Delta Variante hat sich in 1 Woche auf ca 15% verdoppelt. Im Raum München und in Hessen liegt sie schon bei 20%. Es ist ganz klar, dass wir im Herbst noch einmal ein Problem bekommen, welches alle Ungeimpften und unsere Kinder betreffen wird. pic.twitter.com/CwqSIH4MpZ
— Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) June 23, 2021
In the UK, Delta accounts for almost 90 percent of all new infections, and the curve of case numbers is rising significantly.
Yet about 60 percent of people there are already fully vaccinated, while 82.5 percent have had at least one initial dose.
Berlin virologist Christian Drosten tweeted on Wednesday: “Even with high vaccination rates, there is still an incidence increase. Certainly with reduced disease severity, but it does not help unvaccinated people. The Delta rate will also rise in Germany.”
Die neuen Daten aus UK, hier zusammengesetzte Abbildungen. Selbst bei dieser hohen Impfquote noch ein solcher Inzidenzanstieg. Sicherlich mit verringerter Krankheitsschwere, aber Ungeimpften hilft das wenig. Auch in D wird die Delta-Quote steigen. Quelle: https://t.co/h8AQrfgqoD pic.twitter.com/uJCBW3lGtb
— Christian Drosten (@c_drosten) June 23, 2021
On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for European countries to quarantine all arrivals from the UK like is the case in Germany.