Germany sees fourth Covid-19 wave driven by Delta variant

More than 98 million vaccine doses have been administered so far.
More than 98 million vaccine doses have been administered so far.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN - Germany is currently experiencing the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country's disease control agency said, amid rising number of cases driven by the contagious Delta variant.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported that the seven-day incidence rate was around 44 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Thursday (Aug 19), up from 40.8 on Wednesday and 25.1 a week ago.

More young people aged between 10 and 49 are particularly affected by the new wave of infections, German public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said, citing the RKI.

RKI said positive samples from PCR tests had risen from 4 per cent to 6 per cent within a week until mid-August.

On Friday, the institute reported 9,280 new cases, bringing the total tally to 3.85 million. It also reported 13 deaths, taking the total death toll to 91,956.

The rising infections come as the Delta strain becomes the dominant form of the Covid-19 virus in Germany, making up 99 per cent of cases in the country.

German leaders have as recently as last week warned about the fourth wave.

"What is clear is that this fourth wave is coming, and definitely in the autumn," Bavarian leader Markus Soeder has said.

Despite the rising incidence rate, hospital admissions are currently at a low level, said the RKI, illustrating that vaccination does help in preventing hospitalisations and deaths.

More than 98 million vaccine doses have been administered so far, with nearly 64 per cent of the population having received at least one dose, while over 58 per cent has received both doses.

However, the country's vaccination rate has slowed down, prompting a virologist to warn those still hesitant to get their jabs immediately.

"Those who do not get vaccinated will get infected, and perhaps as early as this winter," Dr Christian Drosten told German Press Agency on Wednesday, adding that unvaccinated people could no longer expect protection through herd immunity.

"Everyone, in particular those 45 and older, is strongly advised to take a very serious look at whether they really do not want to be vaccinated," Dr Drosten said.