Why are Germany’s and Austria’s coronavirus death rates so low?
- The proportion of those infected who die seems to vary greatly between countries. It is highest in Italy, at around 10%, and around 7% in Spain and Iran. In the UK, France and the Netherlands it is around 5%, and in Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and the US between about 1.5% and 3%.
- But it is lowest of all in Germany and Austria, at around 0.7% in both countries. According to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, of 53,340 Germans infected only 395 have died; of 7,712 infected Austrians only 58 have succumbed to the virus.
- What could explain this? Germans or Austrians are not unusually healthy by western European standards. They take places 26 and 27 (just behind Belgium and just ahead of Britain) in the UN’s ranking of life expectanciesRates of testing, however, are clearly a major factor.
- According to health minister Jens Spahn, Germany is now testing up to 500,000 people a week for the coronavirus; Britain, by contrast, has conducted just 104,800 tests in the entire period since the end of January. Austria too is testing heavily and plans to hit 15,000 tests a day soon where Britain, with almost eight times the population, is aiming for 10,000 by the end of this month (source: NewStatesman)