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COVID-19 STATS

Germany sees more than 200,000 Covid infections in 24 hours

Germany has logged a new daily record of Covid infections as hospital bosses say they are preparing for an influx of new patients.

People walk past a Covid test centre in Hanover, Lower Saxony.
People walk past a Covid test centre in Hanover, Lower Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Ole Spata

On Thursday, health authorities reported 203,136 new infections within 24 hours, as well as 188 Covid-related deaths. 

A week ago, 133,536 daily Covid cases were reported. 

The 7-day incidence rose above the one-thousand mark for the first time – there were 1017.4 Covid infections per 100,000 people on Thursday. On Wednesday, the incidence was 940.6, and a week ago it was 638.8.

In view of the Omicron wave hitting the country hard, German hospitals are preparing for new patients.

The current number of people infected will have an impact on hospitals in seven to 10 days, said the chairman of the German Hospital Association, Gerald Gaß.

READ ALSO: ‘Hard to keep up’: Your verdict on Germany’s ever-changing Covid rules 

“This means that we will also experience a high dynamic of new admissions to hospitals in the coming days and probably weeks,” Gaß told broadcaster ZDF.

According to the DIVI intensive care register, there are currently around 2,663 Covid patients in intensive care units in Germany with 1,311 receiving ventilation treatment. 

Meanwhile, the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 residents within seven days was 4.26 on Wednesday. But experts fear this will increase further due to the high number – around three million – of unvaccinated people over the age of 60 in Germany. 

Staff absences

Gaß said another issue is that there are major staffing issues because employees are battling Covid infections themselves, or having to isolate for other reasons.

“This is putting a strain on the hospitals,” he said.

Half of German hospitals already reported occupancy restrictions last week, he said, adding: “At the moment, however, it is not the case that care is at risk.”

In the previous waves of Covid, the overload of intensive care units with Covid-19 patients led to operations on other patients having to be cancelled.

Due to the fact that Omicron causes milder illness than previous variants, Gaß said he doesn’t expect hospitals to struggle in the same way during the coming weeks.

“We do not seem to be facing this situation at the moment,” he said. “But of course – the high occupancy on the normal wards also puts a strain on the staff and ultimately on the hospital as a whole.”

Another issue facing hospitals is that employees need to show proof of being vaccinated against Covid by March 15th. There are fears that many will refuse to be vaccinated and quit their jobs, leaving more gaps in the workforce.

Gaß said hospitals are hoping for the so-called ‘dead’ or ‘inactivated’ vaccine – where the virus is killed off – from Novavax to be available quickly. 

Health officials believe that vaccination sceptics will be more open to this type of vaccine rather than the mRNA or vector vaccines.

READ ALSO: German MPs set out plans for vaccine mandates

Gaß said medical bosses would try everything to convince their unvaccinated employees to get their shots. 

If they can’t be convinced, unvaccinated employees face being let go from their jobs without continued payment of wages, he said. 

Member comments

  1. 188 covid deaths. Germany has on average around 2,500 deaths per day.
    Germany has 21,021 occupied intensive care beds. Of which only 2,663 are covid related.
    What percentage of the hospital admissions are because of covid. Or just so happen to have covid.

    As tragic as it all is. Any death is devastating. Covid is no longer accounting for a large proportion of excess deaths as is widely believed. In actuality Covid accounted for 4% of all deaths in 2020. Cardiovascular on the other hand acounted for 34% . My question is. Are we blowing this all out of proportion? Why?
    What is the collateral damage being done for example suicide?
    How many deaths are we willing to accept in order to prevent a covid death.
    How many peoples livelihoods are we willing to destroy?

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COVID-19

Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

As the weather warms up and tourism returns to Germany, this spring feels more normal than the last two years. So what is the pandemic situation in Germany - and how will it develop?

Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

Covid cases falling – but lots of unreported infections

The number of Covid infections in Germany has been falling recently, according to official figures. On Tuesday, 107,568 Covid infections were logged within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 218 deaths. The 7-day incidence fell to 522.7 infections per 100,000 people. 

The Robert Koch Institute’s weekly report from May 5th stated: “The peak of the current wave has clearly been passed, many hospitalisation indicators and and deaths continue to decrease.”

But experts warned that “the infection pressure remains high with almost 600,000 Covid-19 cases transmitted to the RKI within the last week”.

It’s worth keeping in mind that many cases of Covid are going unreported. 

Johannes Nießen, chairman of the Federal Association of Public Health Service Physicians, told Tagesschau: “Many rapid tests are not confirmed by PCR testing. And since only PCR testing is included in the incidence-value calculation, we assume that the incidence value is at least twice as high as reported.”

READ ALSO: Germany reports no Covid deaths: What does it mean?

Changes to testing 

There was a time a few months ago when you had to queue for a long time to get a Covid test in Germany. But after the testing priorities changed (with a focus on PCR testing for key workers and vulnerable groups) and Covid restrictions were eased, test stations became quieter. 

And at the end of May, there will be another key change – government-funded Schnelltests will no longer be free to the public. So it won’t be possible to run to your nearest test station to check on your infection status if you think you have Covid. You’ll either need to buy a self-test or pay for a test at the centre. 

A pop-up Covid testing station in Münich.

A pop-up Covid testing station in Münich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

… but there are still Covid restrictions in place 

The so-called 3G and 2G rules – meaning people had to show some kind of proof to enter a venue like a restaurant – are no longer in place across Germany. 

Mask rules were also relaxed around the beginning of April.

But people in Germany still have to wear a Covid mask on public transport as well as long-distance trains and planes. They also remain in places where there are lots of vulnerable people such as hospitals, care homes and shelters for the homeless.

Some independent businesses and organisations can, however, ask visitors to wear a mask or take a test. 

Covid isolation rules are still in place but they have changed, too.

Now people who get a positive Covid test have to isolate for at least five days. They have the possibility to end it after five days if they haven’t had symptoms for 48 hours, or with a negative test (depending on the state rules). If symptoms or positive test results persist, isolation can last a maximum of 10 days. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out new Covid isolation rules

Reinfections on the rise

It is unclear exactly how many people have been infected more than once. But figures from the Baden-Württemberg state health office show that cases of reinfection are increasing. In December 2021, the share of reinfections in the south-west state stood at 0.5 percent, and in April it rose to 3.6 percent. However, these are only the numbers that have been reported. 

Experts say the reason for the increase in reinfections since the beginning of the year is the Omicron variant. Virologist Martin Stürmer told Tagesschau: “In the beginning, we had the variants Alpha to Delta. The variants were so similar that the antibodies continued to provide good protection against infection or reinfection after vaccination or infection.

“With the Omicron variant, however, the virus has changed so much that this is no longer the case, so that reinfections occur more frequently despite vaccination, boosting or recovery status.”

However, Stürmer said vaccination does protect against severe illness. 

Within the Omicron variant, reinfection with the BA.2 sub-variant after an infection with BA.1 is rare, according to Stürmer. 

Although Omicron has been shown to cause less severe illness in the population in general, ‘long Covid’ – where symptoms persist for a longer period of time – is still a concern and something experts in Germany are watching closely. 

What about new variants?

Experts are urging people to be aware that new variants could emerge in the current climate. 

Stürmer said it’s important to keep in mind that “by allowing a lot of infection, we also allow the emergence of new variants, because basically the mutation rate is higher if we allow a lot of infection”.

“The virus changes,” he added, “and it may be that at some point there will be another variant that challenges us more.”

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said in April that he expected the pandemic situation to be more relaxed in the summer. But he warned of possible waves and future variants in autumn.

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