Germany’s nationwide Covid 7-day incidence rises above key threshold of 35

The number of Covid infections in Germany has passed the key mark of 35 cases per 100,000 people within seven days. Here's what it means.

Germany's nationwide Covid 7-day incidence rises above key threshold of 35
People enjoying the Eibsee in Bavaria at the weekend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Angelika Warmuth

What’s the latest?

On Monday the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 2,126 new Covid-19 infections within 24 hours, as well as four Covid deaths. A week ago the number of Covid cases logged within a 24-hour period was 1,183. 

The number of infections per 100,000 people within seven days rose to 36.2. On Sunday the incidence was 35 and a week ago it stood at 23.1, signalling a significant growth in Covid cases over the past six weeks.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Germany aims to increase vaccinations and control the Covid fourth wave

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has registered 3,823,139 confirmed Covid infections. The actual total number is likely much higher, as many infections go detected. There have been 91,871 deaths connected to coronavirus registered in Germany since the start of the crisis.

The Our World in Data chart below shows the trend in a few countries including Germany, featuring Covid cases per million people.

What does this mean?

After meeting with the 16 state premiers last week, Chancellor Merkel announced that the country’s ‘health pass’ scheme would be rolled out nationwide – and 35 new Covid infections per 100,000 is the important benchmark for introducing it. 

From August 23rd at the latest, districts with a 7-day incidence of 35 new Covid infections per 100,000 people or more will require a health pass (that is proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test) to access most indoor public spaces – like cinemas, indoor dining or the gym – and events. 

Although a system requiring proof of vaccination/recovery or a negative test has been in place across most German states in some form since the relaxing of restrictions earlier this year, a nationwide official system had not yet been agreed. 

The aim is to try and control the fourth Covid wave, and encourage people to get vaccinated. From October 11th, those eligible for vaccination who choose not to get the jab will have to pay for their own Covid tests for access to activities. At the moment there are free rapid tests for everyone. 

READ ALSO: Four things to know about Germany’s paid-for Covid tests

Is it all about the incidence?

The 7-day incidence has been the basis for many Covid restrictions in Germany so far. Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders decided last week that the incidence will remain the most important factor for assessing the Covid situation in Germany.

But other indicators such as the vaccination rate, the number of severe courses of disease, and hospital admissions will also be monitored closely.

So what’s the situation across districts?

The fact that Germany’s nationwide incidence rate is rising means that it is going up in individual districts although there are still major differences across the board. 

As the screenshot from the RKI’s dashboard below shows, some of the worst affected areas are in western regions and around larger cities. The districts with the highest 7-day incidences are shown on the left. 

Notably, Flensburg and Mönchengladbach have a Covid infection rate above 100 cases per 100,000 people within seven days. 

Meanwhile, on Monday Hamburg logged 77.8 Covid cases per 100,000 people in seven days, Berlin registered an incidence of just over 55, Frankfurt had an incidence of 50 and Munich’s incidence was 32.6.

What else should we look out for?

Other countries will be watching Germany’s rising nationwide rate closely and may decide to change the risk factor of the country. It is currently on the UK’s ‘green’ list meaning that everyone – whether vaccinated or not – can skip quarantine when coming from Germany. But if the rate keeps rising, it could be moved back to the ‘amber’ list in future.

READ ALSO: Germany added to the UK’s green travel list: What does it mean?

Member comments

  1. Yes, we are on the Green List but remember it’s not everyone who can now skip quarantine. If someone is double vaccinated in Germany with 2 different kinds of vaccination they must now quarantine on arrival in the UK. This now makes life very awkward as my husband wants to travel back with me but cannot afford to use extra holidays from work. We were hoping to drive back in September through France but we can only travel again after that in November. Wonder what the chances will be then!

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German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

The Covid pandemic is continuing to cause problems around Germany, with concerns that the number of patients needing treatment will rise in the coming weeks.

German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

In its weekly Covid report, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said that confirmed infections appeared to be rising in some German states, and falling in others.

But experts warned that the situation remained tense, with many infections not reported. 

Therefore, in the coming weeks, “hospitalisations, an increase in intensive care treatment and deaths are to be expected, especially among the elderly”, said the RKI.

People over the age of 80 “continue to be most affected by severe courses of the disease”, the experts said in their report. 

The incidence of infections is continuing to rise for this age group, and the number of outbreaks of Covid-19 in medical treatment facilities as well as in old people’s and nursing homes is going up.

READ ALSO: Which Covid rules are likely to return to Germany in autumn?

The number of patients with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) is also rising slightly. In the previous week, the number was reported to be around 1,330. And on Thursday July 28th, 1,550 people were in ICUs in Germany with 484 receiving ventilation treatment, according to the DIVI intensive care register. 

The number of deaths in connection with the virus is currently around just over 400 per week. The RKI says this trend is a plateau.

When it comes to the overall picture of Covid in Germany, the RKI said there was a “sideways movement rather than a decreasing trend”.

Last week, the nationwide 7-day incidence decreased slightly compared to the previous week. The overall picture shows falling incidences in most western German states and Berlin, with incidences still rising slightly in the other eastern German states and Bavaria.

The RKI estimates there’s been a total of 800,000 to 1.5 million people with Covid (who also have symptoms) in the past week alone in Germany.

Last week experts warned that they expected the Covid situation to get worse in the coming weeks as many schools in Germany return after the summer break.

READ ALSO: Germany’s summer Covid wave set to get worse

The Omicron sub-variant BA.5, which has dominated in Germany since mid-June, has almost completely displaced other variants. It accounts for 89 percent of samples in the past week, the RKI said.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned people against underestimating getting Covid again.

The SPD politician pointed out that it was very easy to become infected with BA.5 – even for those who were infected with a previous type.

He warned that many could become seriously ill or die, plus there’s the risk of picking up Long Covid.

“Therefore, we have to solve the problem not by constant infection, but by better vaccines,” Lauterbach said.

‘Call things as they are’

Lauterbach, meanwhile, defended himself against his choice of words when describing the possibility of a new dangerous Covid variant emerging in autumn. 

In an interview with Bild newspaper in April he said: “It is quite possible that we will get a highly contagious Omicron variant that is as deadly as Delta – that would be an absolute killer variant.”

He was slammed for his dramatic choice of words. 

This week Lauterbach said: “I use few vocabulary that is apocalyptic. But sometimes you have to call things as they are.”

If there were a virus that linked the contagion of the BA.5 variant with the severe course of a Delta variant, “that would be a killer variant”, he maintained.

But he stressed that he had “not said that such a variant is definitely coming, but that we have to be prepared for such a variant”.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister calls on under 60s to get next Covid jab