Growing evidence on higher transmissibility of novel variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is raising alarm in many countries. We provide near-time estimates of the statistical association between reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) and epidemiological indicators at the local area level in Germany. Our findings indicate that the 7-day incidence rates in regions with confirmed VOC cases increased by up to 35 on average, after VOC reporting compared to regions without confirmed cases by February 4. The hospitalization rate for COVID-19 patients in intensive care increased by up to 40 but only for regions with most reported VOC cases. Both indicators further show a clear upward trend in regions with reported VOC cases vis-à-vis those without cases.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Funding StatementNo external fundingAuthor DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.YesThe details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:No approval or exemption necessaryAll necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).YesI have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesData is public. Replication files will be available with published version.
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