The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has brought the world to a standstill. Originating from Wuhan, the virus is wreaking ever-increasing havoc and has spread to most of the regions of the world.
The infection outbreak was at first swept aside as China’s problem by most countries. When the virus spread to Europe and the US, the epidemic was still overlooked by relating it to the common flu. Scientists and politicians compared its mortality rates like that of typical influenza that affects the US and other countries each year.
This has now all changed and for good reason. Scientists, doctors, and politicians alike are currently taking this outbreak extremely serious. No wonder that the World Health Organisation (WHO) eventually gave in to pressure from around the world to declare this virus outbreak a pandemic.
With China now recovering nicely – at least on paper – and opening up its cities to resume regular service, the attention has shifted to Europe, the US, and India (South Asia).
The death rate in the novel coronavirus pandemic is the pivot of arguments on the matter. Germany stands out from its neighbors with a super low Covid-19 mortality rate of 0.6% despite having more cases than France, and the UK altogether.
For weeks, virologists in Germany have been asked a determining question: Why, in comparison with other nations, are the Germans who are tested positive with the coronavirus surviving so well?
In Italy, 9.5% of the folks who have been tested positive for the COVID-19 have died, based on data collected at Johns Hopkins University. In France, the rate is 4.3%. But in Germany, it is 0.4 percent.
The main reason for the difference, contagious disease specialists say, is Germany’s work in the earliest days of its epidemic to monitor, test, and carry infection clusters. That means Germany has a more realistic image of the magnitude of its outbreak than places that test the only the most seriously ill, highest-risk patients or obviously symptomatic.
HOD of health care management, Berlin University of Technology, Reinhard Busse, said: “In the starting, when we had comparatively few cases, when it comes to finding and isolating them, we did fairly well in Germany, and that’s the big reason.”
Other factors, like Germany’s outbreak timing and the age of people infected, also play a part in the differing rates of death. But testing has been significant. Germany, with 115,523 positive cases and 2,451 total deaths on April 9, 2020, appeared to have a slightly lower outbreak compared to France 117,749 cases and 12,210 total deaths. However, the death rate in France suggests there were more undiagnosed cases there. The outbreak of France might be much higher than Germany’s.
Initially, at least, the health authorities of the country tracked infection clusters. When a person tested positive, they used contact tracing to locate other people with whom they came in touch and then tested and quarantined them as well, which broke infection chains.
Christian Drosten, virologist, Charité hospital, Berlin, said he is”firmly convinced” that high diagnostic potential of Germany had “ensured us an intense lead… in the detection of this outbreak.”
Yet he warned against complacency and said the death rate would increase: “We’re no exception.”
Epidemiologists say it is essential to look at Germany’s outbreak in two different stages. As community spread became common, infection chains, in some cases, became difficult to trace. Some physicians said they had no option but to send individuals seeking tests back home to call jammed coronavirus hotlines since they lacked the protective gear to conduct them safely.
With cases increasing exponentially, health authorities have moved on to banning mass events and ordering social distancing. Federal states have limited gatherings outside the house to a maximum of two people.
South Korea That has been commended as a model for dealing with the outbreak has a death rate of 1.3%. Busse believes Germany’s lower rate is due to timing.
“In South Korea, there has been a longer period of infections, so we can not really compare,” he said. “We have tons of new positive cases. They could not die yet.”
Busse noted Germany is more comparable to Norway. The country is at a similar stage in its outbreak, it is also working on testing and accommodate cases, and it also has a death rate of 0.4%.
Whether Germany’s social distancing measures will “flatten the curve” isn’t yet clear. President of the agency responsible for disease management, Lothar Wieler, was optimistic Monday that a period of exponential growth may be slowing but cautioned that it was too early to say, given fluctuations in data. He said the picture should be more apparent by Wednesday.
Germany’s Testing standards were no broader than Italy’s. People were analyzed if they had contact with a case or if they had symptoms and where they had been to a risk area. But many initial cases had links to international travel.
The guidelines have since been extended, and testing has been promoted in recent weeks. The number jumped to 100,000 in the second week from 35,000 in the first week of March, according to the medical institution of Germany. The estimates do not include tests carried inside hospitals.
A member of the German parliament, epidemiologist Karl Lauterbach observed that the German epidemic began with large numbers of young people –“people who came back from vacations.”
The young have better fared with the coronavirus than the older. The first outbreak of Italy struck at the heart of an elderly population. Lauterbach said he expected the mortality rate of Germany to increase as more vulnerable sections of society have been infected.
Because testing is not universal, and people with the coronavirus may never be diagnosed, an actual death rate is not possible to ascertain. But experts say the rate is very likely to be higher in countries like Italy and Spain, where maintenance is falling.
With more ventilators and intensive care beds than most other European countries and early steps to limit the spread of the virus, Lauterbach said he didn’t expect Germany can be highly infected like Spain or Italy. Still, he has been supporting for wider limitations.
“I think with all things examined, Germany will do moderately well in this first round of a long fight,” he said.