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COVID-19

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.

    Source:
    1) https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Situationsberichte/Wochenbericht/Wochenbericht_2021-11-04.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

    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
        …or…
        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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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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