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Will Germany's Covid infections ease up in time for Easter?

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Will Germany's Covid infections ease up in time for Easter?
Easter chocolates in the shape of a rooster and a rabbit with a mask on display in the confectionery shop of Julian Orlowski and Kazimierz Rak in 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/PAP | Darek Delmanowicz

With high Covid infection numbers and restrictions being rolled back across Germany, the outlook for Easter looks uncertain. Here are the latest predictions from the experts.


Over the last few months, the spring has often been cited as the time when the Covid situation in Germany would start to ease up again and, on the basis of this prognosis, measures to roll back nationwide restrictions came into force on March 20th - albeit amidst wide-spread criticism from state leaders and scientists. 

But on March 24th, Covid infections within 24-hours reached a record high of over 300,000 and 7-day incidences continue to be in the thousands for all federal states, suggesting that the outlook for spring is not as positive as previously hoped for. 

READ ALSO: Germany sees more than 300,000 Covid infections in 24 hours

What are the prospects for Easter currently looking like?

On Monday, German news site Focus Online published an interview with Statistician Christian Hesse, who forecast a continuation of the upward trend in incidences in the coming weeks as the new Omicron variant BA.2 continues to spread amid lesser restrictions. 

The spread of the Omicron sub-variant "is accompanied by a changed and less cautious contact behaviour of parts of the population," explains Hesse. "This could be due to the fact that fear of Covid has been somewhat eclipsed by fears of war."

Even if the majority of the population continues to behave cautiously, "that is not enough, because the majority of new infections are caused by a minority of frequenters and super-spreaders," he says.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister defends lifting of Covid measures

As a result, Hesse expects Covid infection numbers to continue to rise in the next few weeks leading up to Easter. This view is also shared by the head of Charité hospital in Berlin, Christian Drosten, who told die Zeit last week: "Currently we are also in a high incidence phase. And it will stay that way until Easter if we don't intervene."


Why are the infection numbers increasing so much?

According to Hesse, the Omicron variant BA.2 is largely responsible for high infection numbers: "According to a Japanese study, the Omicron subtype BA.2, which is now dominant in our country, is 1.4 times more infectious than the main Omicron line BA.1 under otherwise identical conditions."

Added to this new, more contagious variant, is the fact that many restrictions have been rolled back since March 20th. However, most federal states still have a transitional period in place and are able to introduce tighter restrictions if the situation worsens considerably in their states. 

READ ALSO: Germany logs 1.5 million weekly Covid infections as Omicron subtype spreads

The exact parameters of the so-called 'hotspot regulation' are due to be thrashed out by the state health ministers in a conference on Monday, which may see the threshold for putting tougher restrictions in place lowered to halt rising infection numbers. 

Some good news

Despite the fact that the chances of catching Covid are higher than ever before, there are also some positive trends.

The hospitalisation rate is now 25 percent lower than during the winter wave in January 2021, and the ICU occupancy rate is less than half as much as during the peak of the Delta wave in mid-December 2021.


The number of patients requiring artificial ventilation has dropped to 38 percent, which, according to Hesse, is an indicator that the Omicron BA.2 variant causes much milder courses than Delta.

The risk of death with symptomatic Omicron infection has also decreased slightly, to 0.09 percent.


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