Germany’s handling of the pandemic is coming under renewed scrutiny after it emerged it had a higher Covid-19 death rate than the UK, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.
Europe’s largest economy has seen 116 extra deaths per 100,000 people in the two years since the spread of Covid-19 Data shows slightly more than the 109 in the UK. The rate was also higher than other European countries, including France (63) and Ireland (29).
At the start of the pandemic, pundits and experts pointed to Germany as an example of successfully handling the virus after Berlin acted quickly to contain infections. So what went wrong and why does the nation have a higher death toll than many of its neighbors?
When the first Covid-related death was recorded in Germany on March 8, 2020, the government was one of the first in Europe to start circulating “worldwide travel warnings” and border closures for all non-EU citizens. German wave (DW) reported.
Only ten days later, former Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the nation: “Since German reunification – no, since the Second World War – our country has not experienced a challenge that has urged us to pull together in solidarity.”
The speech was followed by the introduction of the kind of “drastic measures” that would become known around the world in the next two years, the broadcaster added. Germany’s schools were closed, a home office order was issued and visiting hospitals, nursing homes and old people’s homes were no longer permitted.
In April, Germany began lifting restrictions while cases in the UK continued to rise. Ex-Health Minister Jens Spahn attributed this to early containment measures and said: “The number of infections has dropped significantly, especially the relative daily increase.”
That financial times reported at the time that the UK and Germany had entered the crisis in “lockstep”, with both “working together on virus tests, some of the first developed in the world”. But Germany’s labs were running at more than five times the NHS rate.
In these early months, there was “a lot of praise from abroad for Germany’s efficiency and clarity,” according to DW. And at home, Germans seemed “largely willing” to accept the restrictions as long as cases remained low.
In June 2020 the Government launched the “Corona-Warn-App”, a warning system for Covid-19 contacts that worked in a similar way to the NHS app. But through August, cases were coming in at more than 1,000 a day nationwide. A month later, that number had doubled.
Berlin was the first city to act and imposed a curfew in October. Then, in early November 2020, a “lockdown light” was announced, DW said. This meant that public gatherings were “limited to two households and a maximum of 10 people” while “catering, hospitality and tourism establishments” had to close. The schools stayed open.
The measures kept the cases under control. But 2021 saw the start of international efforts to roll out vaccines, a period of weeks that saw Germany go from pandemic “heroes to zeros”. The guard called.
While countries like Great Britain went ahead with rapid rollouts, Germany relied on the EU’s “Joint Procurement Programme”. The bloc-wide system has “put too much faith in the wrong vaccine candidates” and “created supply shortages across the EU”.
Then, when it got its hands on vaccines, Europe’s largest economy was “slow in administering” the doses it had “injecting vaccines into arms more slowly than 13 other EU nations,” the paper added.
A controversial decision not to use the UK-developed Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to safety concerns further slowed the vaccine campaign. And by January, the government saw “no alternative” but to introduce another “strict lockdown,” DW reported.
The January lockdown had the desired effect, allowing the government to increase vaccinations while cases remained under control. In June 2021, the federal government pledged that all residents of Germany will be fully vaccinated by autumn.
But by July, the country’s “incidence rate” – the number of new cases divided by the number of people at risk – had “risen steadily again,” reported DW. Politicians have been warned against a “reintroduction of curbs”.
The situation was complicated by the forthcoming September elections, “and the subsequent period of government formation delayed decision-making”. Progress on the vaccination campaign had “stalled”, but no decisions had been made until the new government led by Olaf Scholz introduced compulsory vaccination for health workers.
Two years into the pandemic, Germany still appeared to have mitigated the worst of the pandemic’s effects. But his position as “a role model for dealing with the viral threat” has been weakened by “frustration” at a “complex, increasingly difficult-to-follow patchwork of rules,” according to The Guardian.
When the first wave of the virus hit Europe, Our world in data, an Oxford University pandemic tracker, described Germany as an “emerging Covid-19 success story”. But the publication of the WHO’s inflated death toll has called this characterization into question.
The data show that Berlin “significantly underestimated Covid deaths,” said François Balloux, director of University College London’s Genetics Institute.
registered mail The guardhe said that “France overestimated them and the UK got it about right,” which explains why early indications are that Germany has a lower death toll than its neighbors.
The discrepancy between Germany’s actual numbers and its perceived performance is also related to how some countries “became synonymous in the public imagination with certain strategies to contain the pandemic,” Balloux continued.
Germany was held in high regard, having been widely lauded for its effective response in the early months of the pandemic. But Sweden, which actually reported a lower excess death rate, was “criticized by some for the lack of rigor in its measures”.
If international viewers were surprised by Germany’s inflated death toll, residents may have been less surprised. A Civey survey of 5,006 respondents for the weekly magazine The mirror Last month it turned out that almost two-thirds of Germans have lost confidence in the federal government’s corona policy.
Only 29 percent of those surveyed said they were “rather satisfied” or “satisfied” with the leadership of Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. More than half of Germans said they don’t trust him to handle the rest of the pandemic.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/europe/956685/true-story-germany-covid-19-response The true story of Germany’s response to Covid-19