Germany’s relatively low mortality rate continues to intrigue experts as Covid-19 spreads across Europe, with some questioning the methodology behind its data gathering while others argue the country’s high testing rates allow a more accurate approximation of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus.
While the pandemic has hit Germany with full force, with Johns Hopkins University noting 22,364 confirmed infections by Sunday morning, only 84 people are so far reported to have died. This means Germany currently has the lowest mortality rate of the 10 countries most severely hit by the pandemic: 0.3% compared with 9% in Italy and 4.6% in the UK.
The contrast with Italy is especially surprising because the two countries have the highest percentage of citizens aged 65 or over in Europe. If anything, the Bloomberg Global Health Index would suggest Italians have a healthier lifestyle than Germans.
German politicians and senior health officials have been reluctant to comment on the low mortality rate while the situation is developing so rapidly. Lothar Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the government’s central public health body, has said he does not expect there to be a significant difference in mortality rates between Italy and Germany in the long run