German Health Minister expresses ‘delight’ at drop in Covid-19 infections among elderly

German Health Minister expresses 'delight' at drop in Covid-19 infections among elderly
Jens Spahn and Lothar Wieler. Photo: DPA
Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday he was "delighted" that the vaccine campaign among the elderly had reduced coronavirus infections among this age group. But he warned that more aggressive variants of the virus still posed a risk to public health.

Speaking at his weekly press conference with Robert Koch Institute (RKI) boss Lothar Wieler, Spahn said that “the risk of contracting corona has decreased for our elderly”.

“The incidence (number of cases per 100,000 people in seven days) in the higher age groups has dropped from 200 to 70 within a few weeks,” the CDU politician said. “The strategy of vaccinating the most vulnerable first is working.”

But he added that “mutations are making this path more arduous”.

Spahn confirmed that 4.4 percent of the population has now received at least one vaccination, and he pledged that 11 million doses will have been delivered to the federal states by the end of next week.

“Too many doses are sitting unused in fridges,” the Health Minister said, adding that he government was working on allowing all GPs to administer vaccines in their practises.

READ ALSO: Germany records rise in Covid-19 case amid talk of loosening restrictions

Wieler, meanwhile, expressed concern about the overall pandemic picture.

“Unfortunately, we have been seeing for a few days that overall case numbers are not continuing to decline, they are stagnating” he said. “Several hundred deaths are still reported to the Robert Koch Institute every day.”

The RKI president said that the infection rate had even increased slightly in recent days, warning that cases were once again rising among young people.

“This is the last spring of the pandemic – let’s use it wisely,” he added.

What’s the big picture?

German health authorities reported 9,997 new infections with the coronavirus to the RKI within one day on Friday. In addition, 394 further deaths were recorded within 24 hours.

A week ago, the RKI recorded 9,113 new infections and 508 new deaths within one day.

The seven-day incidence (number of cases per 100,000 residents) moved up to 63 on Friday morning from 62 on Thursday. A month ago the incidence was 94, while the all-time peak of 198 was reached on December 22nd 2020.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has registered 2.4 million Covid-19 infections. The actual total is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections are never detected. The total number of people who have died with or from an infection with Sars-CoV-2 has risen to 69,519.

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