Germany reported a new daily record of infections of coronavirus. Faced with this scenario, one of the country’s leading virologists warned that another lockdown might be necessary if vaccination is not accelerated quickly.
The 39,676 new infections registered by the Robert Koch Institute surpassed the previous mark, the 37,120 cases on Friday. According to the institution, the German infection rate rose to 232.1 per 100,000 residents in the last seven days.
“Right now we have a real emergency situation,” said Christian Drosten, head of virology at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, regarding the situation in many intensive care units across the country. “We have to do something right now”.
Intensive care unit in a hospital in Leipzig, Germany. Lod cases of COVID have been increasing for days. Photo: AP
The German authorities have repeated that they have no intention of decreeing quarantines, and instead have asked the population to get vaccinated.
Germany is ruled by an interim government after the federal elections in September. The parties that are expected to form the next government are scheduled to present a law this week that would allow the declaration of an “epidemic situation of national scope” of March 2020. ends at the end of the month, and provide a new legal framework for measures against the coronavirus.
As during previous pandemics, the country has a patchwork of regional norms. In most places, access to many closed spaces and events is limited to vaccinated people, who have overcome the disease or tested negative for the virus in a recent test, although the latter option is not valid in some areas. Nevertheless, sometimes its application is lax.
Hospitals on the edge
Several hospitals said in recent days that they are back to work at capacity limits and that their intensive care units are so overcrowded with COVID-19 patients that they can’t admit more sick people.
In Berlin, the Charité said on Tuesday that it had to cancel the operations scheduled for the day due to the number of professionals who were treating patients with coronavirus. According to the authorities, most of those infected were not vaccinated.
Around 67% of the 83 million inhabitants of the country have completed the vaccination schedule, according to official figures. Unlike in other European nations, no professional group is obliged to receive it.
Drosten said he expects “a very exhausting winter” if vaccinations don’t come back quickly.
“We will probably need to control the infection activity again through contact measures. Not likely, but true,” he said. “We are in a bad situation: we have 15 million people who could have been vaccinated and who should have been vaccinated.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 96,963 people have died from COVID-19 in Germany, according to official figures.
The country’s permanent vaccination committee, Stiko, published a new recommendation on Wednesday that all those under 30 years of age receive only the formula developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.
The recommendation was based on recent analyzes showing an unusual side effect – inflammation in the heart and chest – that was more common among those under 30 who received the Moderna vaccine than among those who were injected with Pfizer-BioNTech, explained the Stiko.
This side effect appears to be rare, and in most cases those affected recover without problems, he added.