NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Robert Koch Institute reported Friday 74,352 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as 390 new deaths associated with COVID-19 in Germany.

The national 7-day incidence is 442.1 cases per 100,000 population. The 7-day incidence is highest in Saxony with 1,224.7 cases per 100,000 population.

Over the past 28 days, Germany has reported 1,378,605 total cases, the second most of any country behind the US.

RKI President Prof. Lothar H. Wieler called the current case numbers far too high. The incidences had reached a plateau, but it was far too early to read a trend reversal from it. It could also be that new infections are not reported in time due to regional overloads of laboratories and health authorities. “Around 4,800 COVID patients are currently in intensive care units and the burden will increase over the next few weeks,” says Wieler. This would also have consequences for planned interventions in the clinics, which would have to be postponed to an ever greater extent.

Wieler said of the Omikron variant that the new variant cannot yet be assessed precisely. But it could be that Omikron leads to more cases of infection in an even shorter time than the currently prevailing delta variant. That is why contact restrictions and complete vaccination protection are crucial: “We have no time to lose,” said Wieler.

At the moment, over 1 percent of Germans are acutely infected with COVID-19, according to Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged Germans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, speaking days ahead of leaving office.

Merkel called the fourth coronavirus wave to hit Germany “very serious” and even “dramatic”, with intensive care units overloaded in some parts of the country.

Spahn believes 30 million vaccinations to be possible by the end of the year. Achieving this goal “would be a great success and the result of a joint effort,” said Spahn on Friday. Sufficient vaccine is available. Almost 10 million people have been vaccinated since the last Prime Minister’s Conference in November. The vaccine will be available for another 20 million this week and next. With this alone, the 30 million vaccinations could be achieved.