An ominous trend: German COVID-19 cases rise amid AstraZeneca vaccine suspension

Coronavirus infections are on the rise in Germany as the country has joined more than a dozen European nations in suspending the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over concerns of blood clots.

The Robert Koch Institut, Germany’s center for infectious diseases, on Tuesday reported about 83.7 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, a jump from 68 just one week prior. The institute said that this number could reach 200 by mid-April.

Possible third wave: Dirk Brockmann, a Robert Koch Institut epidemiologist, told Germany’s ARD television that the spike in cases indicates a third wave of COVID-19 in the country that was initially praised for its early response to the pandemic.

Brockmann specifically attributed the increase to the government’s easing of nationwide safety restrictions even as a new more transmissible variant has spread throughout the country.

Experts warn that the increased rate of infection, as well as the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine, could delay the country’s progress toward reaching herd immunity.