Germany’s RKI raises Covid risk level for the unvaccinated to ‘very high’

People walk in the centre of Wiesbaden, Hesse.
People walk in the centre of Wiesbaden, Hesse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) says the Covid situation is "worrying" and experts fear an increase in severe illness, deaths and the German health system becoming overburdened.

The RKI agency for public health raised the Covid risk level to the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated population from “high” to “very high”.

Experts said the risk was also “increasing” for vaccinated people in Germany. 

“For the fully vaccinated, the risk is assessed as moderate, but increasing due to the rising number of infections,” the RKI said in its weekly report. In its report released a week ago, researchers described the risk for vaccinated people as “moderate”.

READ ALSO: Germany records more than 37,000 Covid infections within 24 hours

The RKI pointed out that among the reported Covid-19 cases, the number of vaccination breakthrough cases – that is when someone who is fully jabbed gets a Covid-19 infection – had risen in recent weeks. In the over 60s age group, 60 percent of new cases are now breakthrough infections.

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

“However, this proportion must be interpreted in conjunction with the high vaccination rate achieved in this age group,” said the RKI. Statistics show over 85 percent of the over 60s are fully jabbed. 

Experts say that being vaccinated against Covid-19 is proven to help keep people from suffering severe illness. 

The RKI said that all coronavirus vaccines available in Germany “according to current knowledge effectively protect against severe disease when people are fully vaccinated”.

They also urged people to get a booster jab, especially those who belong to higher risk groups such as older people and people with pre-existing conditions. 

READ ALSO:

On Friday Germany registered 37,120 Covid infections and 154 deaths within the previous 24 hours. The nationwide 7-day incidence reached 169.9 Covid cases within seven days. 

‘Very worrying’

The RKI said there is a danger of intensive care units (ICU) becoming overburdened. 

“The current development of the situation is very worrying,” said the RKI in its report, adding that they fear a “further increase in severe illnesses and deaths, and that the available intensive care capacities may be exceeded if general, non-pharmacological measures – such as wearing masks, maintaining the minimum distance, reducing contact, ventilation – do not quickly lead to a significant reduction in transmissions”.

In recent weeks, there has been a spike in the number of Covid-19 patients in ICU. From October 27th to November 3rd, almost 460 patients were admitted to intensive care units across the country.

According to the DIVI Intensive Care Register on Thursday, a total of 2,332 Covid patients are now receiving treatment in ICU. The highest risk of hospitalisation continues to be in the over-80s age group, according to the report.

Health experts say there are still very high 7-day incidences among children over the age of five and teenagers. Vaccinations are currently only approved for people over the age of 12 in Germany. 

The RKI says that everyone – even those who been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid recently, should comply with the measures to protect against infection because of the increasing number of cases circulating.

They said that even at so-called 3G events (entry to vaccinated, recovered or tested people) or 2G (excluding the unvaccinated from entry), people needed to be careful, wear masks and keep a safe distance from others. 

Experts said people should also “avoid situations especially indoors where so-called super-spreading events can occur”.

Due to a higher number of acute respiratory infections in Germany compared to last year, the RKI says that people are more exposed to viruses again. They said the number of people getting respiratory illnesses – like colds or flu – are now just as frequent as in the two winters before the pandemic.

“This is clearly different from the same period in 2020,” said the RKI.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.