Young people ‘contributing most’ to Germany’s rising Covid numbers

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.

Young people 'contributing most' to Germany's rising Covid numbers
Young people gather with friends outside bars in Berlin's Friedrichshain district. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

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.

Member comments

  1. Are we surprised?

    Working with younger people, I see their total disregard for wearing masks and keeping social distance.

    The majority of them are about partying, holidaying and close interaction with others. When you try to point out the benefits of respecting others and keeping them well?

    You get shrugged off as if you are a total idiot.

    And because of this type of attitude – and not penalising those who are putting the rest in danger – the restrictions and needed government payments will continue.

    1. Completely agree.
      The only way to get them interested is to deny them something. If the States are going to open up Discos, Venues etc. with distancing & masks being just “advised” (What a joke!), it’s not enough to have a negative test which is maybe 48 hours old. If full vaccination is the only way to get to these places, there will be a big upswing in uptake. But they also need to put it in young people’s faces; pop-up impfzentrums at Schools & in town centres, & a campaign that makes it cool to get jabbed, using say German pop stars that the kids look up to.

    2. And you are an idiot. Whose lives are they putting at danger?? Their peers who have a 99.9999 survival rate. Or is it people like you that took the experimental gene therapy that is supposed to protect you. So please tell me whose lives are they risking. If you live in Germany you must know about the Nuremberg codes after Nazi Germany. You cannot coerce someone to any medical procedure against their will. Please read up on history and if you’believe so much in the experimental gene therapy then you and all the others who get the shot have nothing to worry about (right ?) Sorry your so scared to live your life like these fun partying 20 year olds. Party on kids party on !!!!!!

  2. I guess young people should have the priority as high as seniors. Yes, they can survive but they can also spread it much faster than a 70-year-old who lives in a nursery.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Germany’s weekly Covid infection rate rises above 500

Germany recorded a weekly Covid incidence of more than 500 per 100,000 people on Monday as health experts warn that the fifth wave of the pandemic has only just begun.

Bar in Berlin's Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, which has the highest incidence in the country.
People sit outside bars in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, where incidences are currently the highest in the country. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

On Monday, the 7-day incidence of Covid infections per 100,000 people stood at 528, up from 515 the day before and 376 a week ago. 

Infections have been rising rapidly as the highly transmissible Omicron variant tightens its hold in Germany. Monday marked the fourth day in a row in which the country posted record incidences.

Since the first incidence of the variant was discovered in the country around seven weeks ago, Omicron has swiftly taken over as the dominant variant in Germany.

It currently accounts for around 73 percent of Covid infections and is expected to almost entirely replace the Delta variant this week. 

Though Omicron generally causes a less severe illness than Delta, experts are concerned that deaths and hospitalisations could remain high due to the unprecedented number of cases Germany could see.

Unlike Delta, Omicron has a large number of mutations that allow it to evade previously built up immunity through vaccinations and illness. 

The World Health Organisation has warned that half of all Europeans could be infected with the virus by spring. 

“After the temporary decline in case numbers, severe disease courses and deaths towards the end of 2021 in the fourth wave, the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has begun in Germany with the dominant circulation of the omicron variant,” the Robert Koch Institute wrote in its weekly report on Thursday.  

Since the first Omicron case was discovered in Germany, there have been 191,422 suspected or proven cases of the variant.

As Welt data journalist Olaf Gersemann pointed out in Twitter, the number of Omicron cases has increased sixfold within a fortnight. 

Increase in hospitalisations

Before this weekend, Germany had hit its previous peak of infections back in November, when the country posted a 7-day incidence of 485 per 100,000 people at during the peak of the fourth wave.

Since then, Covid measures such contact restrictions and blanket 2G (entry only for the vaccinated and recovered) or 2G-plus (vaccinated or recovered with a negative test) have been relatively effective at turning the tide. 


For the past few weeks however, infections have been on the up once again as the Omicron fifth wave begins.

The incidence of hospitalisations in the country appears to also be on the rise again after a few weeks of decline. On Friday, the 7-day incidence of hospitalisations stood at 3.24 per 100,000 people, up from 3.13 the day before.

Over the weekend, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned that Omicron could place additional pressure on the general hospital wards as fewer people end up in intensive care. 

“Depending on how things develop, we may face shortages not only in the intensive care units, but also in the normal wards. There is a threat of entire departments being closed,” he said.

“Rapid spread of the virus would mean hundreds of thousands will become seriously ill and we will have to mourn many thousands of deaths again.” 

Karl Lauterbach

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) speaks at a weekly press conference on Friday, January 14th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

Northern states post record incidences

Since the start of the Omicron wave, northern Germany has been disproportionately affected by the virus.

As of Monday, the city-state of Bremen had the highest incidence in the country, with 1389 new cases per 100,000 people recorded in a week.

This was followed by Berlin, which currently has a 7-day incidence of 948, and Hamburg, which recorded a 7-day incidence of 806. The district with the highest incidence in Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, which posted a weekly incidence of 1597 on Monday. 

In contrast to the fourth wave, the lowest Covid incidences were recorded in the eastern states of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. 

On Monday, Thuringia had a weekly incidence of 198 per 100,000 people, while Saxony’s incidence was 249 and Saxony-Anhalt’s was 280.

Somewhat inexplicably, the incidence has been declining in Thuringia in recent weeks, though there is speculation that this could be to do with the fact that Omicron has not yet spread in the state.

Nine of the sixteen German states have incidences of more than 500 per 100,000 people.