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How Covid-19 has affected the vaccinated and unvaccinated in Germany

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Germany passed the 100,000 Covid-19 death mark on Thursday (25), the day when new records of cases were recorded in the country. In the midst of the transition of government, the European country begins to debate the possibility of new blockages and compulsory vaccination against the coronavirus.

The fourth wave of contagion in Germany is different from previous epidemics in the country. The more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is responsible for almost all cases. The current incidence of infections is much higher than in winter 2020, when the vaccination campaign had not yet started. However, figures from the pandemic in Germany show that the unvaccinated are affected by the coronavirus in greater numbers than the vaccinated.

On Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported that there had been 351 deaths from Covid-19 and more than 75,900 cases of infection in the past 24 hours in the country. The incidence of infections has also reached an all-time high in Germany, with 419.7 positives per 100,000 population in the past seven days. The state with the current highest incidence in Germany, Saxony, has reached 1,074.6 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said earlier this week that the country faces a “national emergency” and has started encouraging people to get vaccinated again, using drastic words:

“Perhaps, by the end of this winter, virtually everyone in Germany – this is sometimes said cynically – will be vaccinated, cured or dead. But in fact it is, ”said Spahn, referring to the so-called 3G system used in the country, which limits access to public places to people“ vaccinated, cured or tested ”.

Vaccines are available in Germany, free of charge, for anyone over 12 years of age. About 68% of the population is already fully vaccinated, or about 56.7 million of the 83 million inhabitants of the country.

Official figures indicate that deaths and hospitalizations did not accompany the rise in cases at the same rate during the fourth wave in Germany, when a significant part of the population is already vaccinated.

The graph above, taken from the Our World in Data site, a publication of the University of Oxford, shows the evolution of confirmed cases of Covid-19 accumulated since January 2020 in Germany (in the blue line) and the total cumulative disease deaths in the country (on the orange line).

Incidence between vaccinated and unvaccinated

The separation of Covid-19 incidence data by vaccination status, which has been released by German states and national health authorities, shows how vaccination prevents severe cases and hospitalizations for the disease.

The state of Bavaria, for example, publishes the incidence separately between vaccinated and unvaccinated each week. As of Thursday, the incidence recorded over the past seven days was 112.7 infections per 100,000 vaccinated, and 1,726.3 among the unvaccinated in the southern state of Germany.

The difference in incidence between vaccinated and unvaccinated in Bavaria has increased every week. Today, it is 15 times higher in the unvaccinated, whereas two weeks ago, this factor was 9.8. Hospitalization rates for vaccinated people are also lower. About 90% of Covid patients admitted to state hospitals had not been vaccinated, Governor Markus Söder said last week.

RKI charts detail symptomatic cases of Covid-19 (left) per 100,000 among unvaccinated (dotted line) and vaccinated (solid line) 18-59 year olds and hospitalizations (right) in the same age group , every week, between July 12 and November 14 | Reproduction / Robert Koch Institute
RKI charts detail symptomatic cases of Covid-19 (left) per 100,000 among unvaccinated (dotted line) and vaccinated (solid line) 18-59 year olds and hospitalizations (right) in the same age group , every week, between July 12 and November 14 | Reproduction / Robert Koch Institute| Reproduction / Robert Koch Institute

At the national level, the scenario is repeating itself. The Robert Koch Institute’s bulletins on the Covid situation in Germany recently included the incidence of symptomatic cases of Covid-19 and those hospitalized for the disease separately between vaccinated and unvaccinated, according to age group.

In Germany, in the week of November 8 to 14, the incidence of symptomatic cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 unvaccinated / fully vaccinated, by age group, was as follows, according to RKI data released on Thursday:

12-17 years old unvaccinated 364
Vaccinated 12-17 years old 38.2
18-59 years old unvaccinated 242.4
Vaccinated 18-59 years 88
60+ years unvaccinated 137.6
Vaccinated 60+ years 51.2

During the same week in the country, the rate of hospitalizations per Covid-19 case per 100,000 unvaccinated / fully vaccinated, by age group, was as follows:

12-17 years old unvaccinated 1.9
Vaccinated 12-17 years old 0.3
18-59 years old unvaccinated 8.1
Vaccinated 18-59 years 1.2
60+ years unvaccinated 33.6
Vaccinated 60+ years 6.4

“A sad day”, laments Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will soon leave office, lamented the 100,000 dead mark in the pandemic reached Thursday in the country.

“The day we have to mourn 100,000 victims of the coronavirus is a sad day,” Merkel said at a press conference.

She asked the next government to act quickly to impose new distancing measures, to stop the spread of contagions. “The people who get sick today are intensive care patients for the next 10 to 14 days. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that our hospitals are not overloaded, ”he said.

The new tripartite alliance, which is expected to take over in early December, announced during the presentation of its coalition agreement on Wednesday that it would form a team of experts to assess the situation on a daily basis.

In several regions of Germany, measures have been imposed to allow access to closed establishments only to people vaccinated or recently recovered from the disease, and no longer to those who test negative.

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