Amidst the exponentially growing Coronavirus Pandemic, Germany has one of the lowest death rates in the world even though the country faces a high rate of infections of COVID-19. With over 73,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, Germany has implemented some of the most rigorous measures from the start of the crisis to contain the spread of the virus and control the movement of the masses of people. The country has been at the top of its game when it comes to the management of the crisis of the 2020 pandemic.
One of the most revealing aspects of how efficiently the healthcare system in Germany is regulating the virus’ detrimental effects is its low mortality rates, as compared to the rest of the world. Currently, Germany has a mortality rate from the novel coronavirus of 5%, whereas countries like Italy have a 23%, Spain on the other hand has a 13%, and the United States has a devastating 24%.
It is not surprising then, that we are all asking how do they do it?
According to the experts, there are three main reasons for the country’s low fatality rate.
One reason experts claim is that the outbreak is still at a relatively early stage in the country and that most of the people affected by the virus belong to a younger age group.
Since it has been studied that younger patients with no previous conditions have less risk of developing complications from the virus, the infection of younger patients in Germany has not led to an increase in fatalities.
Another reason, and the one given the most credit, is the fact that Germany has been hands on when it comes to equipping its healthcare system to be able to conduct constant testing from the start of the pandemic crisis
As early as in January, Germany had already become equipped to develop a strategic method to detect COVID-19 in masses. Because the healthcare system in Germany is regulated by the state, there were no burdens or delays to predisposition the testing kits produced by privately owned companies to the public, and this facilitated the early detection and contention of the spread of the virus in the population.
On this note, it has been reported that German Laboratories and clinics have been conducting approximately 160,000 coronavirus detecting tests every week, a sum that is more than what neighboring European nations have carried out in total up until now.
Since Germany took on the responsibility of testing so rapidly, as soon as the pandemic was growing, their early detection also included detecting more cases of people presenting milder symptoms. This detection of milder cases is crucial in delaying the spread of the virus and preventing the mortality risks of the virus because otherwise infected people, with mild symptoms, who can still operate, work and travel are able to contaminate and keep spreading the virus to patients who present potential risks of complications.
To tell you the truth from a personal experience, I live in Berlin, and every single person that I know who has had even the slightest cold, or mildest symptoms has been tested almost immediately upon presenting such symptoms, at the nearest clinic. This leads to support the conclusion that many experts hold, that even though Germany’s infection rates are almost as high as other heavily affected countries, there are high chances that there are barely any unreported cases in the country. This suggests that the infection cases that Germany is reporting are more accurate than those reported in countries like Italy, the United States, and Spain where many of the patients suffering from coronavirus are being tested when they present high possibilities of risk or when their symptoms are relatively more serious.
Even more seriously dangerous is the case in the United States, where it has taken months for the federal government to take action and allow some of the largest privately owned companies to manufacture and produce tests. This process delays the detection of the spread and potential risk of the virus in the population. Although the number of infections officially reported are already high in the United States, the system adopted by the country pushes many to simply be left out of the possibility of getting tested because of the high costs of accessing medical attention and care in the country where a universally accessible healthcare system does not exist.This critical situation leads to the speculation of what is the real threat that the country will be facing in the next months and years to come, while we are all facing the effects of a potentially deadly virus with no-yet-existing cure.
In Germany, the healthcare system is a universal multi-payer system, placed as one of the healthiest healthcare systems in the world with a record reserve of more than 18 million Euros. This leads to the third possible reason why Germany’s death rates have been minuscule compared to most other countries of the world.
With the type of public funding, and with the top priority that is given to the healthcare system in Germany, the nation counts with exceptionally well equipped hospitals with an extensive amount of intensive care unit beds and protective materials for their healthcare professionals and their sanitary staff. It is reported that Germany has 29.2 intensive care beds per 100,000 people of its population, while countries like Italy for example, count with 12.5. per 100,000 people. “This means that there is for now sufficient capacity for seriously ill coronavirus patients.” -The Deutsche Krankenhausgesellschaft (German Hospital Association) reports on its website.
However, it is still relatively early to claim victory over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Experts claim that the situation in Germany is susceptible to change over the period of the next weeks and months to come. Virologists and epidemiologists across the country caution that more severe cases will be seen in the future, because the country still is in a relatively early stage of the outbreak. The good news is that Germany truly prepared early on for the spike of serious infections, and hospitals throughout the whole country have expanded their capacities to care for critically ill patients, they have increased their staff capacity, and the manufacture, production, and distribution of medical equipment is a top priority of the government. In the previous week alone, the government ordered a sum of 10,000 ventilators to be placed at the disposition of hospitals across the country, which already count with 25,000 of these life-saving machines.
For these reasons, experts in Germany are confident that although the government is navigating undiscovered waters and unprecedented situations, the measures taken have been made in the best interest of the population and have proven until now to be efficient. With future cases and possible complications of the situation, Germany continues proving their healthcare system is prepared to care for all patients: the ones presenting mild symptoms and those who become severely ill from COVID-19.
The country remains resilient, with a low rate of mortality and a high rate of approval from the rest of the world.