Health offices logged 262,752 confirmed Covid-19 infections within the latest 24 hour period – that is 52,079 cases more than the number counted last Thursday.
During that same time period, 259 people died in connection with the virus.
The nationwide 7-day incidence rose to 1,388.5 infections per 100,000 people from 1,319.0 the previous day, according to Robert Koch Institute (RKI) data.
It comes after a period of falling Covid infections in Germany.
The number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 residents within seven days was 6.62 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, there are around 2,117 Covid-19 patients in intensive care wards in German hospitals, with 943 receiving ventilation treatment.
What’s fuelling the rise?
In the RKI’s latest in-depth report from March 3rd, which refers to data up to February 20th, 38 percent of Covid infections involved a subtype of the Omicron variant known as BA.2.
Experts say the subtype could even account for the majority of infections in Germany – and appears to be fuelling the current increase.
Due to this subtype being more transmissible than the Omicron variant, the RKI said in a previous report that “a significantly slower decrease or renewed rise in the number of cases cannot be ruled out”.
Where are infections rising?
When looking at the daily case figures published by the RKI, it is noticeable that the infection figures are currently particularly high in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia and are still rising sharply. Recent carnival celebrations could be one explanation for this.
However, the Health Ministry said it isn’t certain that these two factors are connected. German health authorities are struggling to trace infection chains because there are so many cases.
As well as being more transmissible, studies suggest that BA.2, which has spread in several other countries, can break through immunity more easily than other variants.
So what does this mean for the Covid situation in Germany with plans to phase out most restrictions this month?
Bernd Salzberger, from the University of Regensburg, told broadcaster BR24 that he believes the situation will get better when the weather improves and people are outside more.
But the number of cases will decrease more slowly “than we thought”, Salzberger said. He stressed that those who are vaccinated are more protected against severe illness and complications with Covid.
Salzberger said that a fourth vaccine jab – being offered to vulnerable people in Germany – is important amid the rising cases.
“And the second point is actually still to be cautious,” said Salzberger. “Mr Lauterbach (German Health Minister) keeps saying it and I think we still have to stick to that.”