Covid-19 deaths in Germany exceed 50,000

The number of deaths related to Covid-19 in Germany since the outbreak of the pandemic has passed the 50,000 mark, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Friday.

“That is a depressing, for me, almost inconceivable number,” said RKI President Lothar Wieler during a press conference on Friday, adding that it remained “really essential” to follow Covid-19 measures consistently.

Covid-19 deaths in Germany increased by 859 in one day, bringing the official death toll to 50,642, according to the federal government agency for disease control and prevention, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It was “unfortunate” that the number of Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and older people’s homes in Germany was so high, said Wieler. Currently, around 900 outbreaks in such facilities were registered throughout the country.

New infections within one day stood at 17,862, below the previous week’s level, RKI noted. So far, more than 2.1 million Covid-19 cases have officially been registered in Germany.

During the press conference, Minister of Health Jens Spahn said Covid-19 case numbers were “encouraging in recent days and are heading in the right direction.”

He added that despite the positive development, infection numbers were still “too high.”

Germany entered a second lockdown at the beginning of November but initially failed to reverse the trend of rising infections. Health restrictions have been tightened and the current lockdown has been extended until mid-February.

The seven-day incidence rate per 1,00,000 inhabitants fell to 115 on Friday, the lowest level since early November last year, according to the RKI. Just before Christmas, the incidence rate in Germany hit a record high at 197.

Spahn said that the ongoing vaccination campaign in Germany gave reason for hope. “We are at the height of the pandemic, but at the same time we have started the journey out of the pandemic.”

More than 1.5 million people in Germany received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines since the campaign was launched at the end of December. More than 1,15,000 already received the required second dose, according to RKI data published on Friday.