Germany records more than 37,000 Covid infections in 24 hours

A sign to the intensive care unit at a hospital in Gauting, Bavaria.
A sign to the intensive care unit at a hospital in Gauting, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel
Germany's Covid incidence rate has climbed above the level seen in the peak of the third wave in spring - and there's a new all-time high of daily Covid cases.

The fourth wave of Covid-19 is hitting Germany at full force. Within 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered 37,120 Covid infections and 154 deaths.

The nationwide 7-day incidence has now surpassed the peak of the third Covid wave in spring. On April 26th, the incidence stood at 169.3 infections per 100,000 people. On Friday morning, the RKI reported an incidence of 169.9. By comparison, the previous day’s incidence in Germany was 154.5, and a week ago it was 139.2. 

The peak incidence in the entire pandemic in Germany occurred in the second wave on December 22nd 2020 when it hit 197.6 infections per 100,000 residents.

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As The Local reported, the number of new infections already reached a record 33,949 cases within 24 hours this week – more than ever before in the pandemic.

However, researchers say delayed Covid reports due to the public holiday (All Saints’ Day) in several German states on Monday could be playing a role in the extreme spike in cases. 

READ ALSO: Why are Covid infections in Germany rising?

Nevertheless, the situation in Germany has been deteriorating, with ICU units filling up in some parts of the country. 

The number of Covid patients admitted to intensive care per 100,000 residents within seven days – the most important marker for a possible tightening of Covid restrictions – was 3.73 on Thursday, up from 3.62 on Wednesday.

The previous highest hospitalisation incidence was around 15.5 at Christmas time last year during the second wave. 

Experts say the majority of people being treated in the ICUs are unvaccinated. 

Health experts raise risk level 

In its weekly report, the RKI said there was now an increased level of risk for people in Germany. 

For partially vaccinated or unvaccinated people, the Institute changed the risk assessment from “high” to “very high” on Thursday evening.

“For the fully vaccinated, the risk is assessed as moderate, but increasing due to the rising number of infections,” the RKI said. A week ago, the report said the risk for vaccinated people was only “moderate”.

However, the RKI continues to emphasise that all vaccines available in this country “according to current knowledge effectively protect against severe disease when people are fully vaccinated”.

Debate on vaccinations in the care sector

In the midst of the current fourth wave, the dispute about a possible compulsory vaccination in the care sector continues.

“In the meantime, we consider compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups, especially in the care sector, to be unavoidable,” Reinhard Sager, President of the German District Council, told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe. “It is important to protect the particularly vulnerable people effectively.”

Private nursing and old people’s homes hold the opposite view. There is no legal basis for an obligation to get vaccinated, the president of the Federal Association of Private Providers of Social Services (bpa), Bernd Meurer, told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

However, the association said it is urging all staff to get vaccinated. According to Meurer, however, the discussion about compulsory vaccination for care workers distracts from the failure to implement booster vaccinations quickly and across the board.

Germany’s state and federal health ministers have been discussing how to speed up the booster vaccination campaign across Germany. 

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