COVID incidence rate in Germany 2-3 times higher than reported – Minister

BERLIN, December 29 (Reuters) – German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on Wednesday said the number of new coronavirus cases was underreported and the actual incidence rate of infections is about two or three times higher than the officially reported figure.

Lauterbach said the underreporting was due to fewer tests being done in workplaces and doctor’s offices during the holiday season, as well as only a few of those test results being submitted to authorities.

Lauterbach also expressed concern over a marked increase in cases of the Omicron variant and called on people to celebrate the New Year only in small groups.

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Hajo Zeeb of the Leibniz Institute for Preventive Research and Epidemiology also doubts the accuracy of the figures reported by Germany for the coronavirus and the Omicron variant.

“The numbers are now certainly underreported,” he told media group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland.

The Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases reported 2,686 new cases of the variant on Wednesday, bringing the total to 13,129. Four people have died with the variant.

The seven-day incidence rate, which has been a key metric in determining coronavirus policy, has been reported at 205.5 cases per 100,000 population, the lowest figure since early November.

This has resulted in 40,043 new cases in the past 24 hours. In neighboring France, by way of comparison, the authorities reported 208,000 new cases on Wednesday. Read more

A spokesman for the German health ministry said earlier Wednesday that the government expects a clearer picture of the infection situation early next year.

“The number of infections is an important indicator, but of course it is not the only one,” the spokesperson said.

The falling incidence rate comes despite repeated warnings from health officials of a looming fifth wave of infections.

The Health Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Germany was purchasing 1 million packets of Paxlovid from Pfizer (PFE.N), which said the pill reduced the risk of hospitalization or death for at-risk adults by 89%. serious illness. Read more

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Reporting by Miranda Murray Editing by Madeline Chambers, Michael Nienaber

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