Covid cases in Germany ‘significantly higher’ than last autumn, says RKI

A face mask lies on the ground in Mühldorf Am Inn, Bavaria.
A face mask lies on the ground in Mühldorf Am Inn, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has warned about the Covid-19 resurgence in Germany, saying people are facing an increasing risk of getting infected.

“This year’s case numbers are significantly higher than in the same period last year,” the Robert Koch Institute said in its weekly report. 

A year ago Germany ordered a “lockdown light” which turned into several months of a Covid shutdown. German data journalist Olaf Gersemann highlighted the situation last year when fewer patients were receiving intensive care treatment, and the 7-day incidence was lower than today. 

Health experts have warned that people face a growing risk of coming into contact with someone who is infected. 

“With the current 7-day incidences, there is an increasing likelihood of infectious contacts,” said the RKI. Researchers said it was “strongly recommended” for people to get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to make sure they are protected as much as possible. 

Covid cases have been exploding in Germany over the last week. On Friday the RKI reported 24,668 new Covid infections within 24 hours, and 121 deaths. The incidence rose to 139.2 infections per 100,000 people within seven days.

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The RKI said the 7-day incidence had “increased significantly in all age groups, including the elderly, compared to the previous week”.

There’s also been a marked increase in outbreaks in nursing homes and medical facilities, the RKI said.

Gersemann tweeted to show the development of Covid cases within a week on a map. The situation is particularly bad in the states of Thuringia (which has a 7-day incidence of 288.9 Covid infections per 100,000 residents), Saxony (253.9) and Bavaria (221.9).

The number of Covid-19 patients and those with other severe infections being admitted to intensive care units (ICU) in Germany is also increasing. 

“The number of hospitalised and intensive care patients with severe acute respiratory infections recorded increased sharply in almost all age groups over the course of the last week,” said the RKI. 

READ ALSO: German hospitals see sharp rise in Covid-19 patients

Health experts urged people who have mild Covid symptoms – such as a cough or fever, to stay at home and get tested  “preferably with a PCR test”, the RKI said in a tweet. They said this also applies to those who have been vaccinated.

People in Germany who have Covid symptoms should contact their doctor or their local health authority who will decide on whether they need a Covid PCR test. 

Worries over slow vaccinations

The proportion of vaccinated people has barely increased in Germany in recent weeks, the RKI said. Referring to their own calculations, researchers said it’s proven that getting vaccinated has a “pronounced effect” in preventing Covid-19 illnesses and hospital admissions.

The RKI compared the respective incidences in the unvaccinated and the fully vaccinated population.

In the vaccinated population, both the weekly incidence of cases with symptoms, and the incidence of hospital admissions, were significantly lower than the respective values in the unvaccinated population, health experts said. This was true for the entire study period from mid-July to mid-October, both for the age group 18 to 59 and for those 60 and older.

The RKI’s graphs below show the 7-day incidence for symptomatic Covid-19 cases in the 18 to 59 age group, and the 60 and over group. The broken line shows the unvaccinated, and the other line represents the vaccinated. 

Virologist Martin Stürmer said more infections in the vaccinated population are expected due to the high number of people who are vaccinated. But he said that getting inoculated protects against Covid-19.

With vaccinated people, the situation is completely different, said Stürmer, adding: “First, the probability of getting infected again is significantly reduced. Then the probability of having a severe course of the disease or dying is significantly reduced, and also of passing the virus on to others.

“In this respect, you have a very, very big advantage for yourself and for others if you get vaccinated.”

The RKI called on those who qualify for a booster vaccination to get it.

“The opportunity for booster vaccination should be taken by those groups who are recommended to do so by the Standing Commission on Vaccination”, the RKI said.

READ ALSO: Who can get a top-up Covid shot in Germany?


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  1. This week my son’s (8yo) school removed the mandatory mask wearing in class.

    Still there has been no action on installing proper ventilation in classrooms. Why isn’t this an issue that’s being rectified, especially after the many studies about the costs and benefits of doing this? The reality is that issues such as ‘the coal industry’ or ‘speedlimits on autobahns’ are more important than the health status of our kids. I find this observation inconsistent with the statements being issued by governments (old or new) about how ‘they put people’s lives first’.

    Reality is that my 8yo cannot vote, and the generations older than his parents are more likely to get listened to and have more voting power by sheer numbers.

    Ventilation in school classrooms, is it covid19 issue anymore? I’m a scientist, a biologist, think of it this way….animals packed together in confined spaces (be it modern barns, picture theatres, planes… use your imagination) without fresh air leads to discomfort and often sickness, the long time solutions have been to pump animals full of medicines rather than work on changing living conditions, why? Economics comes first.

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