Thursday, November 11, 2021

UK COVID Cases Back Above 42K as Germany Sets New Records & Austria Contemplates More Lockdowns

UK COVID Dashboard 


After two weeks of slightly lower daily case counts the UK posted 42,408 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours, up from just under 34K 5 days ago (see chart above).  While still below the highs of last October's surge, the daily trend is once again going in the wrong direction. 

As is most of Europe, with the UK, Denmark and Germany tightly clustered (see chart below) together - with roughly double the rate of infection as currently in the United States -  but dwarfed by the stratospheric rates reported in places like Slovenia, Croatia and Georgia. 

Austria, the Netherlands, and Belgium continue to soar, reporting rates roughly 3 to 5 times greater than in the U.S. 

Over the past 24 hours Germany has reported more than 50,000 new COVID cases, continuing this week's record breaking streak.  Today's summary from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) follows:

Summary (as of 11/11/2021, 10:00 AM)
• Yesterday, 50,196 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as 235 new deaths associated with COVID-19 were transmitted to the RKI in Germany. The national 7-day incidence is 249.1 cases per 100,000 population. The 7-day incidence in federal states lies between 521.9 cases per 100,000 population in Saxony and 89.4 per 100,000 population in SchleswigHolstein.

• Overall, +1,274 new hospitalisations with COVID-19 were reported, the 7-day incidence of hospitalised cases is 4.65 per 100,000 population.

• On 10/11/2021 (12:15 AM), 2,739 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care units (ICU), +52 cases compared to the day before. The proportion of COVID-19 occupancy in total number of operable ICU beds for adults is 12.3 %.

• Since 26/12/2020, 114,067,035 vaccine doses have been administered in Germany. Overall, 69.9 % of the population in Germany have been vaccinated at least once.4 67.3 % have received a complete course of vaccination against COVID-19. 5

In our last look at Germany's numbers on Monday, the national 7-day incidence was 201.1 cases per 100,000 population, meaning that rate has increased by 25% in the past 4 days. The estimate R-value has increased from 1.13 to 1.16

A comparison of COVID activity maps (Nov 8th vs. Nov 11th) suggests the COVID wave is moving from the eastern part of Germany towards the central states. 

In Austria, where rates are running more than twice what they are in Germany, new restrictions are being considered (see AP report Austrian leader says lockdown for the unvaccinated is likely) on top of the recently upgraded rules (below).
Current Situation in Austria

NEW "2-G-rule": The following measures have come into effect on 8 November:
Like in many other European countries, COVID cases in Austria are currently rising. To keep locals and visitors safe, additional protection measures have been introduced:
  • For hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, leisure centres, gyms, cultural institutions (cinemas, theatres etc.), ski lifts and body-related services (such as hairdressers) proof of vaccination/recovery is mandatory (children under the age of 12 are exempt). Find more information here.
  • For events with 25 people or more proof of vaccination/recovery is mandatory (children under the age of 12 are exempt).
  • COVID tests (both PCR and antigen) are no longer valid as "entry tests".
  • FFP2 masks are required on public transport, in cable cars and in all retail businesses and museums.
  • 2-dose-vaccinations are valid for 9 months only after the second dose from 6 December (previously: 12 months)
  • Up until 5 December, proof of the first dose plus a negative PCR test are valid for hospitality businesses, body-related services and events.
  • Children under 12 years are currently exempt from entry rules, for minors between 12 and 18 years, a solution is being worked on (Exemption: In Vienna, children from the age of 6 require an entry test).

Exactly what is driving this recent surge in Eastern Europe, and including some highly vaccinated central European nations (Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, etc.) isn't entirely clear.  Some of it may be due to the waning protection of the COVID vaccine over time, and there has been speculation that the AY.4.2 variant may be driving some of these increases. 

While North American COVID rates are significantly lower than Europe right now, it remains to be seen how long that can last.  Travel from Europe has been largely restored this week, and that could impact the United States in the weeks ahead.

The common denominator among nearly all of the European countries now dealing with major COVID surges today is that they reduced, or eliminated, nearly all COVID restrictions over the summer, believing that the worst of the pandemic was behind us and that vaccines alone would keep the virus in check. 

And while that day will hopefully come soon, it is apparent - at least in Europe - it isn't here yet.