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Covid-19 update: Incidence rate in Germany and NRW remains above critical threshold of 50

Covid-19 update : Incidence rate in Germany and NRW remains above critical threshold of 50

The recent decline in Covid-19 numbers in Germany has ended. The seven-day incidence rate has remained between 57 and 59 for the past several days. Meanwhile, the president of the German Medical Association advises people to accept the Astrazeneca vaccine if offered.

The number of new Covid-19 cases in Germany has risen above 10,000 for the first time in days. Health authorities reported 10,207 new infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Thursday. The recent and rather rapid decline in the weekly rate of infections per 100,000 inhabitants has ended. For several days now, the seven-day incidence rate in Germany has remained between 57 and 59. The corresponding figures in NRW are at a similar level. Here, the numbers are falling in many districts and cities, including Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg district. But in twelve of the state’s 53 administrative regions, the virus is spreading more quickly again.

Many epidemiologists already see in the current figures, traces of the new British mutation B.1.1.7, which is considered much more contagious than the old variants. In NRW, the proportion of new troublesome variants is at nine percent. However, these are the results from samples taken on January 27. The actual number is now likely to be higher. In the Heinsberg district, for example, a local outbreak in two residential facilities for senior citizens led to an increase in the seven-day incidence rate from 53.6 (Feb. 16) to 65.3. Sixteen residents living in those facilities tested positive for coronavirus, 14 of them carrying the British variant B.1.1.7, according to authorities in the district of Heinsberg.

The lack of consistency in the pattern of infection numbers is a major concern for many experts, although some warn against jumping to conclusions. "Based on the data, which is still quite sparse and the scope of data collected, which is still very variable, no serious assessment is possible at present," said Jan Fuhrmann, who regularly studies the spread of the pandemic for the Jülich Research Center. The decisive factor, he said, is how quickly the absolute number of infections with this variant increases.

According to a simulation calculation by the RKI, even with conservative assumptions, the incidence rate could rise again to 61 at the end of April, with almost all new cases then attributable to the mutated and more infectious pathogen.

(Orig. text: M. Heckers, M. Kessler, M. Oberpriller / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)