Outdoor catering in Würzburg
Photo: Ralph Peters / imago images / Ralph Peters
The coronavirus variant Delta has significantly increased its share of new Sars-CoV-2 infections in Germany within a week. At 6.2 percent in calendar week 22 (May 31 to June 6), it remains relatively rare, according to the latest report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). In the previous week, the proportion of the Delta variant in the samples examined, including late reports, was 3.7 percent. Once a week, the RKI evaluates the proportions of reported virus variants that are classified as worrying.
With a share of a good 86 percent of the samples examined, the alpha variant (B.1.1.7, discovered in Great Britain) continued to cause the majority of infections nationwide in the first week of June.
However, their share is slowly falling.
The other worrisome variants beta and gamma still only play a subordinate role.
For the Dortmund immunologist Carsten Watzl, the significant increase in the delta variant alone is not an indicator of an impending fourth wave.
"But we have to be careful that the incidences do not go up again through reckless openings," he wrote on Twitter.
Watzl estimates from smaller data collections that the proportion of the delta variant in Germany is currently already over ten percent.
But that is still low - for example compared to Great Britain.
In the past few weeks it has been possible to observe how quickly the delta variant can worsen the infection situation despite a well-advanced vaccination campaign:
In April, the first cases of this mutant were detected in England, which is said to be largely due to travelers from India.
They arrived before the British government put India on the so-called red list with a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine.
At the beginning of May, when the British public health authority classified the Delta variant as "worrying", Delta was already making around a quarter of the cases.
In mid-May this mutant overtook the alpha variant.
Two weeks later there were almost only delta cases.
The seven-day incidence in the UK is currently back around 70; Before that, it was around 20 for weeks. So the incidences have soared, even though more than 57 percent of adults in the UK are now fully vaccinated. The UK government postponed planned easing for England and parts of Scotland for several weeks.
The delta variant should be taken seriously because it can be transferred more quickly, says Berlin physicist Dirk Brockmann from the Institute for Biology at Humboldt University.
One must consider that values in the nationwide low percentage range mostly still go back to local outbreaks, he said on Wednesday on rbb-Inforadio.
The alpha variant also started out so small, but then prevailed.
In his opinion, that will also happen with the Delta mutant.
aar / dpa