Coronavirus: why are there more confirmed cases, but fewer deaths in Germany?

Among our German neighbors, 22,364 cases are confirmed, making it the most affected country of the great European powers. But Germany only deplores 84 dead and at least 180 people are even considered cured. France, with 14,459 confirmed cases, has 562 coronavirus deaths. This difference in mortality rates raises questions.

A first explanation is the public affected first by the virus. The first cases of contamination concerned young people returning from Italy, where they had gone skiing. It is young, healthy Germans who are infected first, and therefore have a greater chance of survival.

“In Germany, more than 70% of those who have been identified as infected so far are between 20 and 50 years old,” said the president of the Robert Koch Institute, which is responsible for leading the fight against the pandemic.

Early tests

But above all, Germany has done a lot of testing early on. In accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, which requests to perform a test for each suspected case. As a reminder, the very first case that was detected in Europe was in Bavaria, at the end of January, which allowed authorities to quickly set up screening tests.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, approximately 12,000 tests are performed per day. It is enough to have symptoms and to have been in contact with a confirmed case or a person returning from a risk zone to be eligible. Much more flexible criteria than in other countries. Today, Germany performs five times more tests than France and patients are treated more quickly in the event of complications.

The fact that France has performed few tests so far also means that the number of actual cases could be much higher than the number of confirmed cases. This would distort the death rate.

Germany takes care of French patients

German hospitals are also much better equipped for intensive care: with 25,000 beds, compared to only 5,000 in France. Germany has also proposed to France to take care of patients. Two French patients have already been transported to Friborg by helicopter, to help relieve the overwhelmed Alsatian hospitals.

Germany does not believe, however, that it will be spared by confinement at national level. Chancellor Angela Merkel is betting for the moment on the discipline of her compatriots but that could change at the end of this weekend, which has a little test value to know if the population respects the rules.


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