The figure sets a new grim record at a time when testing facilities are working at capacity
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's disease control and prevention authority, has reported 112,323 new Covid-19 infections within the last 24 hours. The figure, which was released on Wednesday morning, marks a new all-time high, up 20,000 from last Friday's 92,223 cases. It is estimated that the deadly virus also claimed 239 lives over the past day.
However, the number of Germans infected with Covid could be even higher than the official statistics indicate, as many testing facilities and laboratories across the country have been working at capacity for days. Some are already failing to keep to the standard 24-hour period within which test results are supposed to be produced.
Speaking to the dpa news agency, Andreas Bobrowski, the chair of the German Association of Laboratory Pathologists, warned that "in northern Germany, testing labs are already stretched to the limit." He added that Omicron accounted for more than 90% of new Covid cases, with laboratories in central and southern parts of the country also increasingly under strain. The doctor opined that the standard wait between swabs and results coming out could soon be extended to 36 or even 48 hours.
Against this grim background, Germany's health minister, Karl Lauterbach, told RTL TV channel that the nation should brace itself for double the current figures when it "reaches the peak of the wave in mid-February," and said it was only then that the "number of cases could decrease."
Lauterbach also argued in favor of a sweeping vaccine mandate for all Germans, adding that the sooner it was introduced, the sooner the country would be able to turn the pandemic tide.