Young people 'contributing most' to Germany's rising Covid numbers

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 15 Jul, 2021 Updated Thu 15 Jul 2021 13:49 CEST
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Young people gather with friends outside bars in Berlin's Friedrichshain district. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

According to the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, Germany's steady rise infections can be traced largely back to people in their 20s.

In the RKI's weekly report, the public health authority revealed that Covid infections were generally falling among the older age-groups. 

However, among 20-29 year olds, there had been a noticeable increase in new infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days (7-day incidence).

READ ALSO: Is Germany facing a Covid ‘fourth wave’ fuelled by the Delta variant?

The most dramatic rise in infections was among 20-24 year olds, among whom the 7-day incidence jumped from 10 to 19 within a week. According to the RKI, over-15s have also seen a slight rise in infections.

For comparison, among the 75-84 age group, the 7-day incidence is currently stands at 1. 

Health experts believe this trend could have a lot to do with the proportion of vaccinated people in each age group. While senior residents of Germany were among the first in line for vaccinations, healthy young people are less likely to be fully immunised.

Wieler said on Tuesday that the highly infectious Delta variant had been spreading particularly rapidly among the unvaccinated proportion of the population.

The Delta variant will have a high impact on the number of people in intensive care "if vaccination among 17-59 year olds stagnate at around the 65 or 70 percent mark", the RKI said in a recent analysis.

In recent weeks, Delta has become the dominant variant of Covid in Germany. It now accounts for 74 percent of new infections reported to the authorities. 

The spike could also be related to the reopening of pubs, bars, sports events and festivals and the dropping of social contact restrictions in various states around the country.

READ ALSO: ‘Stage zero’: North Rhine-Westphalia to scrap all contact restrictions on Friday

In the Netherlands, around 1,000 revellers at a music festival in Utrecht were recently infected with coronavirus - despite the fact that negative tests and vaccine certificates were a prerequisite for entry to the event.

Covid-19 figures continue to rise 

On a national level, the 7-day incidence has leapt up once again, having started to increase just over week ago.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Thursday morning, it was 8.0, compared to 7.1 on Wednesday and 6.5 on Tuesday.

The latest lowest incidence was recorded on July 6th, where 4.9 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants were recorded over seven days.

Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), says Delta is spreading fastest among the unvaccinated. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-pool | Michael Kappeler

The health authorities in Germany reported 1,642 new corona infections to the RKI within one day - almost double what they were a week ago, when 970 infections were reported within 24 hours.

The incidence has so far been the basis for many coronavirus restrictions in the pandemic such as lockdown measures. 

In the future, as vaccination continues apace, other factors ​​such as hospital admissions are to going to be given more weight when deciding on lockdown measures. 

READ ALSO:  Germany to ‘focus more on Covid hospital admissions’ when deciding measures

According to the latest figures, 32 deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours, compared to 31 deaths a week ago. 

The RKI reports 3,740,325 Covid infections in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. The actual total number is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections are not detected.

The RKI stated the number of those who had recovered from Covid at 3,637,400. The number of Covid-related deaths has risen to 91,319.

'R' value points to further rise in infections

According to RKI data from Wednesday, the reproduction or 'R' number, which determines the speed of the spread of the coronavirus, is currently at 1.18 and has been greater than 1 for more than a week.

The number means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 118 more people. If the value is consistently above 1, the number of cases increases. If it is below 1 for a long time, infections continue to go down.

The R-value was previously well below 1 for around two months.

However, in comparison with countries such as Spain and the Netherlands who are currently seeing infections skyrocket, the 'R' rate in Germany is considerably lower. 

In both Spain and the Netherlands, the 'R' value is currently more than 2, meaning that every infected person infects at least two other people.



DPA/The Local 2021/07/15 13:49

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