BERLIN — More than 40,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Germany.
The sad record of 40,343 deaths was reached Sunday when the country’s disease control center reported 465 new deaths.
Germany initially managed to keep death numbers low in comparison to its European neighbors, but since October both new infections and deaths have been creeping up steadily. On Sunday Germany recorded 16,946 new infections.
The country entered a second hard lockdown last month, which was recently extended until the end of January. Schools and most stores are closed, hospitals in the country are on edge and some morgues don’t have enough space to cool the relentless flow of incoming bodies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the coming weeks will be the most difficult in the pandemic. However, the chancellor also said mass vaccinations, which started in late December, will eventually bring relief.
“A few hundred thousand have been vaccinated and it will become more every day. The speed will pick up,” Merkel said in her weekly podcast.
Germany and the European Union have so far approved the vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. More that 530,000 people, mostly the elderly and medical staff, had been vaccinated by Saturday.