Germany sees number of new Covid cases double in 24 hours

Health authorities in Germany reported 8,324 new cases of Covid on Wednesday morning - a number not seen in the country since May 21st, 2021.

Germany sees number of new Covid cases double in 24 hours
In Berlin-Neukölln, one of the districts with the highest incidences of Covid in the country, the 7-day incidence of infections per 100,000 residents now stands at 111.5. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

The number of new Covid cases reported in 24 hours has risen by more than 4,400 cases against Tuesday’s figure of 3,912, suggesting that the fourth wave is gaining increased momentum. 

The 7-day incidence of Covid infections per 100,000 people also rose significantly over the course of 24 hours. 

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

On Wednesday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded a 7-day incidence of 40.8 per 100,000 people, compared to 37.4 the previous day and 25.1 a week prior.

So far in the pandemic, the 7-day incidence has been used by politicians as the basis for many Covid-related restrictions, such as the federal ’emergency brake’, which expired at the end of June.

Though politicians and health experts still consider the incidence an important benchmark, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference last week that the government would also take into account a range of other factors such as vaccination coverage and hospital admissions when setting the agenda for autumn and beyond.

READ ALSO: Germany to end free-of-charge Covid tests in bid to boost vaccine take-up

According to the RKI, there were 22 Covid-related deaths in the country within 24 hours – marking another jump from last week’s figure of 14. 

Statistical expert and Welt reporter Olaf Gersemann pointed out on Twitter that this is the third week in a row in which the number of Covid deaths has risen. However, the slow-progressing vaccination campaign nonetheless seems to be having an impact on hospitalisations and deaths.

As of Wednesday, 63.5 percent of the population had received at least one dose of vaccine, while 57.8 percent of the population were fully vaccinated. 

Incidence over 100 in four districts

Though the nationwide incidence has just broken the 40 mark, four districts in Germany are now seeing 7-day incidences of over 100 per 100,000 people. 

The district with the highest incidence in the country is Flensburg, with 116.5 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, followed by Berlin-Neukölln (111.5), Wuppertal (108.7) and Bonn (104.6). 

Meanwhile, at the state level, the city-states of Berlin and Hamburg and the populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia are all reporting 7-day incidences of more than 50 per 100,000 residents.

With a 7-day incidence of 75 per 100,000 people, Hamburg tops the scoreboard, closely followed by Berlin with 69 and North Rhine-Westphalia with 65. 

Back in July, when the 7-day incidence had only just passed into double digits, health experts warned that the incidence was doubling every two weeks. 

This now seems to have picked up pace, with the incidence doubling every 11 days. If the trend continues, the country could be recording a nationwide incidence of around 82 cases per 100,000 people by August 29th. 

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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.