BERLIN — The head of Germany’s disease control center says it will probably be several weeks before infections in the country, which is nearly a week into a toughened lockdown, start to decline.
Germany has seen new coronavirus cases and deaths related to COVID-19 hit record highs over recent weeks, despite a partial shutdown in place since early November. Last Wednesday, nonessential shops and schools were closed in a bid to reverse the trend.
Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute disease control center, said Tuesday that he fears the Christmas period is making the situation worse, despite restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather.
He appealed to people not to travel, to minimize contacts beyond their closest family and where possible meet others outdoors.
On Tuesday, Wieler’s institute reported 19,528 new cases over the past 24 hours, up from 14,432 a week earlier and bringing Germany’s total to 1.53 million. It recorded 731 more deaths, bringing the total to 27,006.
Congress has easily passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package. It would deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate a nation confronting a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. The bill has been sent to President Donald Trump for his signature, expected in the coming days. The effort comes at the end of a year that’s become the deadliest in U.S. history. Preliminary data on U.S. deaths show the coronavirus pandemic contributing to a 15% or more increase in deaths over last year. U.S. deaths topped 3 million for the first time, and the percentage increase was the largest in a single year since 1918.
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