Understanding COVID incidence rates in Germany

May 25, 2021

As the German federal government and state governments publicize plans for reopening the country, it seems like one phrase is everywhere: incidence rates.

Incidence rates are how the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which is the German equivalent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measures COVID risk. Essentially, the RKI uses an “incidence rate” of 50 cases per 100,000 people, as measured in a 7-day period, as the minimum risk threshold for Germany. So, any number below 50 is, generally speaking, a good thing.

In fact, many reopening plans are tied to incidence rates of 50 cases per 100,000 or 100 cases per 100,000. In short: as the case count drops, the ability to open things up increases.

As interested parties, then, it is helpful to be able to know where incidence rates are at a given point in time. Fortunately, the RKI offers an excellent online tool that allows an almost real-time look at case counts in Germany: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/478220a4c454480e823b17327b2bf1d4/page/page_1/.

For the moment, it only exists in German, and looks like this. But fear not! Navigating it is very simple, especially with this handy guide. Here’s what you need to know.

Robert Koch Institute

Screen capture of the Robert Koch Institute’s key statistics counter. This view shows a Germany-wide perspective as of May 25, 2021.

Choose your view: States, counties and cities

In the top right portion of the page, you’ll see these three options, which give you the choice of what sort of view you want.

Robert Koch Institute

Three choices are available. Visitors can see incidence rates at a large scale level (Bundeslander) or a more granular level (Landkreise). Visitors may also select a German state from the “Alle Bundeslander” dropdown menu.

Here’s a quick guide to understanding the three primary options.

  • Bundesländer = state. Selecting this option allows you to view the incidence map at a state level.
  • Landkreise = county. Selecting this option allows you to view the incidence map at a county (i.e. much more specific) level.
  • Alle Bundesländer = all states. This is where you can select the state you want, in order to get a more granular view of what’s happening where you live. Key states for U.S. personnel in Germany are Rheinland-Pfalz (home of the KMC and Baumholder), Hessen (home of Wiesbaden), Baden-Württemberg (home of Stuttgart), and Bavaria (home of USAG Bavaria and Ansbach).
Robert Koch Institute

To get a closer look at the state you live in, select the “Alle Bundeslander” dropdown menu, and then scroll to your state (in this case, Rheinland-Pfalz).

Know your stats: Incidence rates, case counts and deaths

The following bar, which is front and center on the tool used by the RKI, offers three important and easy-to-understand metrics. Since “Rheinland-Pfalz” has been selected as the primary option to view, all statistics are only applicable to that state.

Robert Koch Institute

A snapshot of 7-day COVID incidence rates, case counts and deaths, for Rheinland Pfalz, as of May 25, 2021.

The three primary statistics can be translated as the following.

  • 7-Tage Inzidenz = incidence rate. In this case, the overall Rheinland-Pfalz rate is 53.4.
  • COVID-19 Fälle = COVID-19 cases. In this case, there have been 160 new cases recorded in the last 7 days.
  • COVID 19 Todesfälle = COVID-19 deaths.

Digging more deeply

If you want to get more granular, this tool allows for it it. First of all, you can zoom in more closely on the large scale map.

Robert Koch Institute

Select the search menu on the map, which is located in the center of the page.

Then type in the state or city in which you’re interested. For example, KMC residents may be interested in Kaiserslautern.

Robert Koch Institute

Enter the city or region in which you live to get a closer look at the map.

You can also get a closer look at the cities and counties in your state by scrolling the county and city list on the left side of the page. A quick note: SK = Stadtkreise = urban area. This allows the RKI to get a closer look at what is happening in larger cities.

Robert Koch Institute

A list of major counties and urban areas in Rheinland-Pfalz, with 7-day COVID incidence rates (7-Tage-Inzidenz) and overall case counts (7-Tage Fallzahl). In this list, current as of May 25, 2021, the list shows major counties and urban areas from most affected to least affected.

Additional Resources

For an extensive listing of COVID-19 resources in English, please visit https://www.finditguide.com/covid-19-info.

For U.S. government employees, including service members, remember to always follow command regulations, which may be different than host nation policies.

Categories: COVID-19, News