Germany registered this Saturday (15) a new record in the incidence rate of Covid-19 in seven days: 497.1 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Despite the high number, the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus still does not affect intensive care units (ICUs) on a large scale, according to doctors. This is likely due to the large number of young people infected.
The previous record of incidence had been 485.1 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, on November 29, 2021. On Saturday of last week, the incidence was 335.9.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the government agency for disease control and prevention, this Saturday, 78,022 new cases of coronavirus were recorded – below the record of 92,223 cases recorded on Friday.
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Germany adopts a large-scale testing policy, which is why many cases are reported compared to other countries. In many cities, residents can take up to one antigen test a day for free.
In addition, since Monday, the 2G plus rule is in effect. This means that only people vaccinated with two doses and with a recent negative test can access cafes and restaurants, for example. People who have already received the booster are exempt from the test.
No overcrowding in ICUs
The high numbers of cases, however, are not yet reflected in the ICUs. “Currently, we cannot identify the wave of the omicron in intensive care units,” said Gernot Marx, president of the Intensive Care Registry German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi, its acronym in German).
“Fortunately, when it comes to patients with Covid-19 [em UTIs], we can continue to report declining numbers”, highlights Marx.
On Thursday, intensive care unit admissions for Covid-19 dropped just below the 3,000 patient mark for the first time since mid-November.
Of the 25,171 ICU beds in Germany, 2,872 are occupied by patients with Covid-19, with 1,741 on mechanical ventilation. Another 18,307 beds are occupied by people with other illnesses, and 3,992 are available.
As of Friday, the hospitalization rate of people with coronavirus reached 3.23 per 100,000 people in the past seven days.
Marx emphasized that, currently, mainly people under the age of 35 are being infected by the omicron.
“These develop a severe course of the disease much less frequently than the elderly, so they are not yet, or are only occasionally, patients in our intensive care units,” he explained.
Fewer serious cases than delta
According to Marx, it is expected that, compared to the delta variant wave, in which about 0.8% of all infected people had to be treated in intensive care, significantly fewer patients who test positive will have such a course. serious illness.
“If the incidences rise sharply due to the very rapid spread, however, that could still be a problem,” Marx mused.
The opinion is shared by intensive care physician Christian Karagiannidis, from Divi. “The situation in normal wards in Germany could become particularly dramatic if the number of cases continues to rise,” he said.
Expert Clemens Wendtner warned that a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine must be planned quickly. “For me, a fourth vaccination four to six months after the third dose would be an appropriate measure,” said the head of infectiology at the Schwabing Clinic in Munich.
At the same time, however, he stressed that, due to lack of data, there is still no recommendation from the Permanent Commission on Vaccination for a second booster. Many argue that one should wait for vaccinates adapted to protect against the micron. “But I’m afraid it will take a long time,” Wendtner said.
New vaccines should not be expected before April.
In Germany, 71.84% of people have already received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and 45.48% a booster dose, according to the platform Our World in Data, from the University of Oxford.
The high rate of unvaccinated is a cause for concern, according to experts. Tobias Kurth, an epidemiologist at the Charité hospital in Berlin, told DW he expects the rise in infections will still put pressure on health facilities.
“That number is expected to continue to rise, with incidence rates likely to reach above 1,000 [ a cada 100.000 habitantes]”, he said.
“As many people are still unvaccinated, there is still a high chance that some of them will unfortunately end up in the hospital. For the healthcare system, it’s still a very alarming situation,” Kurth told DW.
Cases of forgery of vaccine passports
In almost all German states, the number of forgeries of vaccination passports is increasing. According to a survey by the epd news agency among ministries, state criminal investigation offices and law enforcement authorities, the number of cases has increased sharply since the end of the year.
Cases in Bavaria jumped from 340 in October 2021 to more than 1,900 in December. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the number also rose steadily to more than 1,200 cases in December.
There are believed to be at least 20,000 cases of this crime across the country. However, that number could be much higher, as the actual extent of the total number of counterfeit vaccination cards in circulation cannot be reliably quantified, Berlin police said.
To try to contain the spread of the coronavirus, as of this Saturday, restrictions on night outings for unvaccinated people in Baden-Württemberg will apply. The rules apply between 9pm and 5am for the unvaccinated and those who have not recovered from the illness. There are exceptions if there are valid reasons.