Associated Press / Martin Meissner

Germany has become the latest country to surpass 100,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic’s beginning as it faces a winter wave that is the most severe to date for the country.

Data released by the Robert Koch Institute, which collects data from about 400 regional health offices, showed 351 additional deaths connected to the virus over the last 24 hours, which brought the total toll to 100,119. Germany also set a record for daily confirmed cases at 75,961.

The country has had over 5.5 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. 

Germany is the fifth country in Europe to surpass 100,000 deaths, after Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and France, according to The Associated Press.

Despite the high number of daily infections, there have been fewer coronavirus-related deaths compared to earlier in the pandemic, which experts argue is due to vaccines lessening the effects of the illness.

However, hospital beds are still filling up, creating problems for health care workers and patients. With almost 4,000 beds taken by COVID-19 patients, hospitals in the south and eastern region of the country have reportedly been transferring them to other parts of the country for care.

The general manager of the Bavarian hospitals association, Roland Engehausen, said the number of new cases must come down sharply. Otherwise, he said, the country will face a situation between Christmas and New Year’s “the likes of which we haven’t seen yet,” according to the AP.

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, who is set to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in December, has called for mandatory vaccinations for those working in nursing homes. 

“Vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic,” Scholz said, per the AP.

Tags COVID-19 Germany

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