“The peak of the wave has probably been reached,” said the RKI in its latest weekly report, adding: “But the infection pressure remains very high with more than 1.5 million Covid-19 cases reported to the RKI within one week.”
The latest wave is said to have been fuelled by the Omicron subtype BA.2. According to the RKI, the share of the subtype in infections across Germany has risen to over 80 percent.
The RKI said that in the Omicron wave, the number of people to develop severe illness is “significantly lower” compared to previous waves, even though there is a high number of infections.
There is still some pressure on the health care system due to Covid patients needing treatment, and to staff taking leave due to sickness or quarantine.
But the RKI said the strain is “moderate” compared to previous waves.
The number of Omicron-associated deaths in relation to new infections “so far remains at a lower level than in previous waves”, said the RKI, but added that it remains “significant in absolute terms”, with around 200 Covid-related deaths per day.
The RKI said fewer cases of severe illness is due to the “increasing build-up of immunity”, especially due to vaccinations combined with a lower proportion of severe disease in infections caused by the Omicron variant.
Germany has began significantly easing Covid rules, with masks no longer mandatory in many places.
But the RKI said that the development of the pandemic depends on the behaviour of people.
“The further course of the pandemic depends on whether larger parts of the population continue to behave cautiously and with consideration even if government measures are reduced, or to what extent possible infectious diseases can be transmitted,” health experts said.
According to official data, there were 1,586.4 Covid infections per 100,000 people on Friday.
The RKI also reported that the number of new infections reported within 24 hours was 252,530, compared to 274,901 the previous day and 296,498 a week ago.
Within the latest 24 hour period, 304 Covid-related deaths were reported.