Berlin · Germany has recorded a new high in coronavirus infections. And even though there is light on the horizon, the situation in intensive care units could soon become very difficult.
In Germany, health authorities reported 23,542 new corona infections within 24 hours to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
This means that a new record was reached on Friday, according to the information provided by the RKI in the morning. Last Saturday, a record had been set with 23,399 cases. Compared to Thursday, the number of newly reported cases on Friday rose by almost 1,700.
On Fridays and Saturdays there are usually very high numbers while on Sundays and Mondays, they are normally quite low - partly because fewer tests are administered on the weekend. Experts assume that the overall number of cases will continue to rise, but not as quickly. The fact that the weekly increases are becoming smaller is also evident this time around: on Friday last week, the number was 21,506, a week before it was 18,681.
Despite new record levels, there is no longer an exponential growth in infections, said Gernot Marx, intensive care physician at the University Hospital Aachen. He made the comment on Friday on the radio station WDR5. The curve is flattening out and the reasons are not yet entirely clear. Uta Rexroth, the head of the RKI situation center, said on Thursday that the decline could also be caused by the fact that laboratory capacities are slowly being exhausted.
According to the RKI, it will take two to three weeks before we see any change in the numbers which would show the effects of the partial lockdown. It has been in effect since November 2. This Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the State Premiers will discuss the restrictions that have been in place for two weeks. The current plan is for them to remain in place throughout November.
Right now, 3,299 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units, 56 percent of them are on ventilators. The number continues to rise steeply and, according to Marx, will increase significantly. He expects that at least 5,000 patients, or perhaps twice as many as the current 3,000 patients, will need intensive care. These patients also spend a very long time - two to four weeks - in the hospitals. "This means that we will have to deal with this situation in intensive care well beyond December.”
It is known that about two percent of newly infected patients have to be treated in intensive care units within ten to twelve days. Based on the number of 23,542 new corona infections nationwide reported by the RKI, Marx said: "We already know that in ten or twelve days we will have more than 400 new patients again.” This is "a much more widespread and threatening situation than in spring", he said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has registered a total of 751,095 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Germany (as of November 1, midnight). The number of deaths related to the virus rose by 218 to a total of 12,200 by Friday. The RKI estimates that about 481,700 of the registered infected persons have recovered in the meantime.
The so-called 7-day incidence rate - infected persons registered by the health authorities per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days - is also rising. But the increase has also flattened off considerably. According to RKI data from Friday, it was 140.4 (previously 139.0).
According to the RKI management report from Thursday evening, the so-called seven-day R was 0.93 (previous day: 0.89). This means that mathematically speaking, 100 infected persons will infect about 93 more people. The value reflects the occurrence of infection 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a longer period of time, the infection subsides.