Deep in a new surge, Germany sets a daily virus case record.

Germany recorded 33,949 new coronavirus cases over a 24-hour period on Wednesday, surpassing a record set in mid-December 2020, when the country was in the throes of its second Covid wave.

During the same 24 hours last year, 165 people died of the disease.

“We’re currently experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Jens Spahn, the German health minister, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Only 67 percent of the population is fully inoculated, putting Germany behind other European Union members like Italy, Portugal and Spain, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

And in the eastern and southern parts of Germany, where vaccine skepticism runs high, the inoculation rate is significantly lower than the national average.

Vaccine refusal appears to have fueled infection hot spots in several districts this week, like in Dresden, in the east, and Munich, in the south, where the case rate has climbed to more than 500 cases per 100,000 people per week.

The federal government, which, under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership tightly managed the pandemic in its early stages, now appears to be struggling to control the situation. Mr. Spahn was scheduled to meet with state-level health ministers on Thursday and Friday in an effort to persuade them to reopen vaccination centers that were closed in the summer after demand waned.

Elections to replace Ms. Merkel were held in September. Lawmakers who will likely form the new government announced last week that they would not extend a federal state of emergency that would allow Berlin to set Covid rules for the country, and will leave it to states to manage their own virus policies.

On Friday, the government of the hard-hit eastern state of Saxony, which includes Dresden, is expected to pass laws that will require that visitors to public places, such as hairdressers and museums, show proof of vaccination or proof of past infection. On Wednesday, the Bavarian government, which includes Munich, also tightened its rules around testing and mask requirements.

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