Germany sees more than 50,000 Covid cases in 24 hours

Germany registered a record high of 50,196 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, according to health authorities, and pressure on hospitals is building.

A person walks in Görlitz, Saxony.
A person walks in Görlitz, Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert

It is the first time Germany has exceeded 50,000 daily cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and comes as infections and deaths have soared since mid-October.

The nationwide 7-day incidence rose to 249.1 Covid infections per 100,000 people, making it the fourth day in a row that it has reached an all-time high.

On Wednesday, the incidence was 232.1, and a week ago, the incidence was 154.5 (previous month: 66.5).

According to the new data, 235 Covid-related deaths were recorded in Germany within 24 hours. A week ago, there were 165 deaths in the same time period.

Pressure is also building on hospitals, in an outbreak blamed on Germany’s relatively low vaccination rates of just over 67 percent.

The number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 residents within seven days – the most important marker for a possible tightening of restrictions – was 4.61.

The previous record hospitalisation 7-day incidence in Germany was 15.5 per 100,000 people, and it was reached in the Christmas period last year. 

Due to the sharp rise in infection figures, the German Hospital Association said intensive care units would get overrun.

“The figure of (Germany seeing) 4,000 occupied intensive care beds (with Covid patients) is practically unavoidable,” said Gerald Gaß, chairman of the board of directors.

He said clinics across the country “must now immediately postpone planned operations.”

In many regions, intensive care units are reaching their limits. This means that hospitals “have to limit their services, regardless of the number of Covid patients in their own hospital, in order to then also be able to stand in for overburdened hospitals”.

Germany is “in a very critical phase of the pandemic,” said Gaß. 

‘Pandemic returning’

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the rise in infections as “dramatic.” She has called for an urgent meeting with state premiers. 

“The pandemic is returning in a new spectacular fashion,” her spokesperson said, calling on regional authorities to take further steps to quell the outbreak.

High profile German health expert Christian Drosten says tougher lockdown measures will be needed if the number of vaccinations isn’t increased. 

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, says German virologist 

Several of the worst-hit states, including Saxony, Bavaria, and most recently Berlin, have introduced new restrictions aimed at non-vaccinated people, who have been the first to be affected by the rebound in cases.

As of Monday, Berlin will ban unvaccinated people from entering restaurants, terraces, bars, sports halls, and hairdressers.

Over 4.9 million people have been infected by Covdi-19 in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Berlin to exclude unvaccinated people from indoor dining, bars and hairdressers

Member comments

  1. Mandatory vaccinations required. No ifs or buts. Get the anti vaxxers into line with the rest of the more sensible population.

  2. Currently 40% of infections in 18-59 year olds and 60% of infections 60+ are amongst the vaccinated. (1)

    Mandatory vaccinations are not going to solve the problem, even if it were politically and socially feasible.

    Vaccinations are worthwhile, but they’re nowhere near sufficient for curbing transmission. And we’ve known this for a long time. Sadly, the 2G rules are predicated on this fantasy of durable, sterilizing immunity from the vaccines. Germany made a huge mistake by sidelining rapid tests as the primary tool for controlling transmission.


    1. But what percent of the vaccinated are filling the ICU beds? We can deal with high infection rates if no one is suffering severe symptoms. At that point it is just another flu like infection the world can deal with. This reduction of severe symptoms is the importance of continuing to raise the vaccination rate.

      1. For ages 18-59, the vaccinated are:
        40% of infections, 21% of hospitalizations, 13% of deaths.
        For ages 60+, the vaccinated are:
        60% of infections, 45% of hospitalizations, 43% of deaths.

        > We can deal with high infection rates if no one is suffering severe symptoms.

        Unfortunately very many people, including the vaccinated, are suffering severe symptoms. Yes, the % of infected that suffer severe disease is significantly smaller for the vaccinated, but we’re currently having ~20,000 infections / day amongst the vaccinated. A small percentage of a very large number is still a large number.

        So, no, we cannot deal with infection rates like 50,000/day. The health care system is already overburdened. People with mild cases still need medical care, especially as it’s not evident in advance whether someone is going to have a mild or severe case.

        Endemicity may very well be the endgame, but we’re far from the point where can sit back and let ‘er rip.

    2. You omit to mention that most of the population is vaccinated. The unvaccinated are disproportionately infected.

      1. > You omit to mention that most of the population is vaccinated.
        I treated that as given because it’s both well known and cited in this article.

        My assertion is that *limiting access by vaccination status is not an effective means of transmission control*. The fact that 40% of new infections have been vaccinated tells us that vaccination status is an unreliable indictor of infectiousness, thus the 2G rules are ineffective. That remains true whether the vaccinated fraction of the population is 25% or 75%.

        Amongst the 60+ age group, the vaccinated are: 91% of total, 60% of infections, 45% of hospitalizations, and 43% of deaths. As thought experiment on whether mandatory vaccination would be sufficient, let’s cut out the unvaccinated 9%, leaving a 100% vaccinated cohort. There is still significant suffering and death amongst them. Should we conclude that…
        a) there’s nothing more to be done
        b) we should take additional measures to prevent transmission, e.g. reinstate proven effective controls based on rapid testing?

        It hopefully goes without saying that none of this is an argument against vaccines. They are the keystone measure for mitigating the harms of covid-19. But policies like 2G are rooted in the false notion that vaccinated == not infectious & not vulnerable. The vaccines are uniquely effective for reducing the severity of the disease. Rapid tests are uniquely effective for detecting contagious virus. We need to use both.

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Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

High profile German virologist Christian Drosten believes Germany will see a severe spike in Covid infections after summer, and that the pandemic will not become endemic this year.

Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

Drosten previously said that Germany would probably be able to declare the end of the pandemic this year.

But in an interview with Spiegel, Drosten said he had reevaluated his opinion. 

“When the Alpha variant came, it was very surprising for me. When Delta appeared I was sceptical at first, then with Omicron we had to reorient ourselves again. And since January there have already been new Omicron subtypes.

“So I would actually like to correct myself: I no longer believe that by the end of the year we will have the impression that the pandemic is over.”

READ ALSO: End is in sight for pandemic in Germany, says virologist 

Drosten also said that Germany will not see a largely Covid-free summer, which has been the case in previous years, and a further increase in infections in autumn. 

“We are actually already seeing an exponential increase in case numbers again,” Drosten said.

“The BA.5 variant (of Omicron) is simply very transmissible, and people are losing their transmission protection from the last vaccination at the same time.”

In other countries, he said, when the number of cases become high, hospitalisation and death rates also rise again. “Unfortunately, that will also be the case here,” said Drosten, but added: “Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021.”

Drosten said he expected many more infections from September.

“I hope that the school holidays will dampen the increase in cases somewhat. But from September, I fear we will have very high case numbers,” the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charité hospital told Spiegel.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister lays out autumn Covid plan

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021.

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

If the government does not take any action, he predicted there would be a lot of sick leave across all industries. “That will become a real problem,” he said.

Drosten said he did not expect overcrowded intensive care units in Germany.

But the new BA.5 sub-variant, which is becoming dominant in Germany, may affect people more strongly. 

“The wheel is turning more towards disease again,” said Drosten. It is not true that a virus automatically becomes more and more harmless in the course of evolution. “That makes me even more worried about the autumn,” he said.

Drosten recommends wearing masks indoors during the colder months, saying it is “the least painful” measure.

If, in addition, “up to 40 million people could be immunised or given a booster vaccination” before winter, for example by urgently calling for company vaccinations, that would “really make a difference”, Drosten said.

In the long term, he said it’s inevitable that people will become infected with coronavirus.

He said the population immunity due to vaccinations and infections will at some point be so strong that the virus will become less important. “Then we will be in an endemic state,” said Drosten. In the worst case, however, this could take “several more winters”.

However, Drosten warned against people trying to deliberately infect themselves with Covid, saying getting the infection in summer doesn’t mean people will be protected in winter. 

Drosten himself said he has not yet contracted Covid-19.

“So far, I guess I’ve just been lucky,” he said. “I rarely put myself in risky situations, but I’m not overly cautious either.”

‘Pandemic depends on behaviour’

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)’s latest weekly report, more outbreaks are occurring in care homes, and the number of patients in intensive care units is slightly rising as infections go up. 

The institute said there had been a 23 percent increase in the 7-day incidence compared to the previous week. On Friday the 7-day incidence stood at 618.2 infections per 100,000 people. There were 108,190 infections within the latest 24 hour period and 90 deaths. 

“The further course of the pandemic depends not only on the occurrence of new virus variants and the uptake of vaccinations on offer, it also depends to a large extent on the behaviour of the population,” said the RKI.

According to the DIVI intensive care register, the number of Covid-19 patients in ICUs had increased to 810 on Thursday this week, from about 600 at the beginning of the month.

However, that number is still low compared to previous Covid peaks when thousands of people were in intensive care in Germany.