Germany’s coronavirus anomaly: high infection rates but few deaths | Financial Times
In one crucial way, however, the country is proving remarkably resilient: relative to known infections, the number of deaths has so far been minuscule.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there were 13,979 coronavirus infections in Germany on Thursday afternoon, more than in any other country except China, Italy, Iran and Spain.
According to Lothar Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, German laboratories are now conducting about 160,000 coronavirus tests every week — more than some European countries have carried out in total since the crisis started. Even South Korea, which is conducting 15,000 tests a day and has been held up by virologists as an example to follow, appears to be testing less than Germany.
“This is about capacity. The capacity in Germany is very, very significant. We can conduct more than 160,000 tests per week, and that can be increased further,” Prof Wieler told journalists this week. Test capabilities would be boosted not least in part by switching laboratories that specialise in animal health towards coronavirus checks. There was no sign that test kits were running low, Prof Wieler added.
In the short term at least, mass testing feeds through into a lower fatality rate because it allows authorities to detect cases of Covid-19 even in patients who suffer few or no symptoms, and who have a much better chance of survival. It also means that Germany is likely to have a lower number of undetected cases than countries where testing is less prevalent.