The head of Germany’s disease control institute sounded an alarm Thursday, warning of a possible uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 as the country reported a daily record of 11,287 new infections.
Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, told reporters in Berlin that infection numbers are rising among all age groups, not just young people, though he said their tendency to attend social gatherings is a significant cause for the spread. Wieler also disputed claims that the rise in new cases was the result of increased testing.
Koch said the situation was serious and that the country must prepare for it to get worse.
“We must anticipate the virus heavily spreading further, at least in some German regions, and that there might even be an uncontrolled spread."
The 11,287 new infections shattered the record of 7,830 recorded last Friday and marks the first time the nation has seen more than 10 new cases in a single day since the pandemic began.
While Germany's infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating rapidly since the onset of cooler weather, with politicians warning that stricter social distancing rules may be needed if the trend continues.
German authorities have toughened measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, such as banning large gatherings and mandating the wearing of masks in certain parts of Berlin. Wieler urged people to heed the rules and restrictions.
Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.