Germany’s state and federal politicians are scrambling to put new Covid rules in place as the country experiences record case numbers, and a top virologist has warned that the nation’s pandemic death toll could double if sufficient measures are not taken.
Nearly 40,000 new cases were registered in the country on Tuesday — the third time a daily record has been set within a week. And 236 people died of the disease in that 24-hour period.
“We have a real emergency situation,” Christian Drosten, the head of virology at Berlin’s Charité hospital, Germany’s most renowned research hospital, said on a podcast that aired on Tuesday.
Since the pandemic began, Germany has reported almost 97,000 deaths from Covid. Dr. Drosten warned that a further 100,000 could result if no additional solutions were found, although the number of patients in intensive-care beds is now less than half of what it was during the peak in January.
The three parties that are poised to succeed Angela Merkel’s coalition government have proposed a set of Covid rules that will be discussed in Parliament on Thursday. And several states, including those that have been hardest hit, either have in place or plan to enact their own stricter regulations this week. Those rules would mandate vaccinations or documentation of a past infection for people seeking to use certain services.
Experts say that the surge in new infections has resulted from the relatively low vaccination rate in some regions of Germany and the slow rollout of booster shots. About 67 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated.