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Germany’s Official Corona Infection Numbers Include Estimates

When Germany’s Robert Koch Institute releases the latest number of Coronavirus infections on a daily basis, it partially relies on “estimated values”. The country’s labs and health authorities cannot record or report every single case anymore, also because there are too many.

Berlin, January 28th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — In Germany, laboratories that deal with Corona and most health authorities are overloaded. The extremely high numbers of new Corona infections per day renders a precise reporting impossible. There is another aspect: Persons who were infected by the Omicron mutation of the Coronavirus go through milder disease progressions in most cases. This also means that many Germans who catch it might not even inform their doctor or health authority. This is one reason why experts believe there is a high number of cases neither the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) nor the authorities know about.

Pieced Together

Issues with the testing do not make things easier, also when it comes to determining the exact number of active Corona infections in the Federal Republic. The more precise PCR tests are being reserved for risk patients, doctors, nurses and other caretakers right now, because there is a lack of them. But those antigen tests everyone else is supposed to use are not quite as reliable. Also, their results are not being reported in most cases. These are some of the reasons why the RKI pieces together its numbers. Corona cases reported by labs and health authorities are included, but so are estimates based on other data the institute collects, according to the institute’s latest weekly report.

What all of this means is that today’s number of new Coronavirus infections, 190,148, might be low, even though it is the second-highest one ever reported. There could be a huge number of unreported and undetected cases. Germany’s official Seven Day Incidence is 1,073.0 today, which is a new all-time high. Today, eleven out of sixteen federal states have four-digit Incidences. Yesterday, only eight of them did.

Hotspot Tempelhof

Berlin continues to be Germany’s hotspot. Even though the city state’s Incidence decreased since yesterday, it is astronomically high. It stands at 1,829.4. With 1,673.4, Hamburg is on the second place, while Bremen hit the third one. Its level is 1,588.7. The other four-digit ‘candidates’ are Bavaria, Brandenburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein. In comparison, some of the eastern states with low vaccination rates, which used to be the nation’s hotspots, look fine.

Half of Germany 412 counties do not. Looking at the RKI’s list of counties, cities and Berlin districts would be shocking if we were not used to bad news yet. Obviously, about half the entries have four-digit Incidences. The worst place of them all is Tempelhof-Schöneberg, one of Berlin’s boroughs. Today, it is the only spot with an Incidence that is higher than 3,000. Mitte, Pankow, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Spandau and Neukölln, which are districts in the capital as well, are in the 2,000 to 3,000 range. Offenbach, Wiesbaden, Solingen, Munich, Frankfurt, Potsdam, Darmstadt and Hamburg are just some of the places that look bad too.

Issue and Opportunity

German virologists and other experts see issues and an opportunity when they look at the ongoing Omicron wave. On the one hand, some of them believe there could be an “initial immunization” soon which could protect the entire society and bring back the kind of life people knew in pre-Corona times, at least for a while. Others believe an overburdening of regular hospital is a danger right now. Most experts say people should not underestimate Omicron and finally get vaccinated. That way, a mild disease progression was more likely.

Looking for the daily Corona update for Germany? Find it here.
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2022 (from Dec. 22nd, 2021)
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2021
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2020

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