Mar 27, 2021 - World

Germany warns next coronavirus wave could be country's worst yet

A symbol for the mask obligation is applied on the pavement of the pedestrian zone in the Offenbach city

The city centre in Offenbach, Germany. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images

German officials warned Friday the third wave of the coronavirus in the country is going to be "harder to curb" and could be far worse than the previous two.

Why it matters: The number of new confirmed cases has jumped in recent weeks largely due to the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant and the relaxation of some lockdown measures, according to Reuters.

By the numbers: Germany has recorded 2,755,225 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 75,780 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the country's Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI).

  • Germany reported 21,573 new cases on Friday, about 4,000 more new cases than were reported a week ago, Deutsche Welle reported.

What they're saying: “There are clear signals that this wave will be worse than the first two waves,” said RKI head Lothar Wieler, according to Reuters.

  • “We have some very difficult weeks ahead of us,” he added, urging people to stay home over the Easter holiday.

The big picture: Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the government would no longer implement a planned stricter lockdown over the Easter holiday.

  • She apologized for the plan, which was met with public criticism and confusion.

Germany's health minister said on Saturday that the country expects to receive its first small delivery of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine in mid-April, per Reuters.

  • Jens Spahn cautioned the first delivery would be small — around 275,000 doses — but it will eventually "be ramped to millions of doses."
  • The country has had a slow start to its vaccine rollout, made worse by delivery days and constrained supply, according to Reuters. About 10% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
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