Thursday, December 2, 2021

Germany becomes the last country to die from 100,000 people from COVID-19

BERLIN (AP) – Official figures released Thursday show Germany is the latest country to have more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Germany’s Disease Control Agency said there were 351 additional coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 100,119.

In Europe, Germany became the fifth country to pass this mark, after Russia, Great Britain, Italy and France.

The Robert Koch Institute, a federal agency that collects data from about 400 regional health departments, said Germany also set a record for daily confirmed cases at 75,961 in 24 hours. More than 5.57 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Germany since the outbreak began.

The rise in cases prompted the pending German government on Wednesday to announce the creation of a new permanent expert group that will advise officials on how to tackle the pandemic.

Although the number of daily infections is higher than during the last winter surge, there are now fewer daily deaths for each confirmed case. Experts say this is due to vaccinations, which they say reduces the likelihood of serious illness.

However, hospitals have warned that intensive care beds are running out and nearly 4,000 patients are already occupied with COVID-19 patients. Some hospitals in the south and east of the country have begun transferring patients to other regions.

The director general of the Bavarian Hospital Association, Roland Engehausen, said the number of new cases should drop sharply.

“Otherwise, we will have a dramatic situation between Christmas and New Years, the likes of which we have never seen before,” he told the German news agency dpa.

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Saxony, located in the northeast, became the first German state on Thursday to record more than 1,000 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants each week. It has the lowest vaccination rate – 57.9% – among 16 states in Germany.

The government has urged people who were vaccinated more than six months ago to get boosters, and those who have not yet been vaccinated at all to get their first shot. Officials say 68.1% of Germany’s 83 million people are fully vaccinated, well below the 75% minimum the government is aiming for.

Center-left leader Olaf Scholz, who is set to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor next month, called Wednesday for mandatory vaccinations in nursing homes that care for particularly vulnerable people and left open the possibility of extending the measure to others.

“Vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic,” Scholz said.

Health expert of his Social Democratic Party Karl Lauterbach, an experienced epidemiologist, called the case of Munich football star Joshua Kimmich as a warning to those who believe they can avoid both the virus and the vaccine. Kimmich, who was hesitant to get vaccinated, tested positive this week. Bayern Munich said on Wednesday that Kimmich is “doing well.”

“This case shows how difficult it is for unvaccinated people to avoid COVID these days,” Lauterbach said on Twitter.

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Stay tuned for AP posts on the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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