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The German model in relation to the crisis… April 7, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was wondering is this a fair summation of the approach to the crisis in Germany, an article in the Guardian which suggests that the federalised structure of the German state and decentralised health care authorities, as well as high test rates, are leading to potentially more positive outcomes suggested here (or at least not as negative outcomes) correct?

Here is tafkaGW’s take on this in comments here, a very comprehensive overview from the ground in Germany (and many thanks to tafkaGW for writing it) which for those who may have missed it is very very useful.

Ok – briefly on Germany.

1. A lab in Berlin associated with the Charité in the first half of January saw the pandemic coming, and developed a qPCR lab test based on Chinese samples. This test protocol was given away at cost to a large number of test labs internationally, an in Germany some public the capability to test was genuinely as opposed to ramped up. This meant Germany was able to test suspected cases on a profligate scale. In Berlin for instance only 8% of the people tested turned out to be positive. This meant test coverage was good and contacts could be traced to persuade them to go into isolation. It’s the second hop in an infection chain that you want to get to ASAP. It also means you can get to people who may develop serious illness earlier.

2. The number of hospital beds per head of the population here is higher than anywhere else in Europe, including the UK. There are also a large number of ICU units with, as importantly, staff trained to run them. This leads to a lower death rate.

3. There’s a good pharmaceutical and biotechnology academic and commercial base, capable of researching and producing, for example, test kits.

4. The policy has been driven by virologists and epidemiologists, and politicians have been willing to listen to them. It sticks in my craw to say it, but Jens Spahn, the CDU health minister is intelligent and effective in a crisis, however repulsive his politics may otherwise be.

5. There is a general acceptance in the population, apart from a minority of the need for a lockdown, and the policy has been evidenced based again in allowing people to get exercise and escape from their flats within reason. I think part of this is the fact that the government stepped in quickly with rapid support of workers, small to medium businesses and the self-employed.

6. Coming down the line there is active development of an app which will combine the ability to warn people who have been in contact with a verified case while preserving anonymity and privacy. That will be an interesting job of convincing people that it should come into widespread use. Modelling suggests that this could automate contact tracing and drive the virus transmission rates down. Watch that space.

7. Genuine devolution of administration has meant that the measures have been introduced on the basis of a federal consensus, which means central and regional administration are pulling together in a coordinated way, and sharing the load.

8. The long tradition of Prussian public medicine, starting with Robert Koch, has survived. This meant the the first hot spots in Bayern and NRW were contained for a while, and a fair amount was learned about the disease in the process.


The biggest threat are the voices of capital and their political representatives, who want to loosen the measures way before they are epidemiologically advisable, in order to minimise their losses, or even profit from churn in the classic disaster capitalist manner.

Anyhow this if just the first stages of the pandemic, it will be with us until we have a widely available vaccine, which will take at least a year. The relative success of Germany could change depending on what policy decisions are adopted in the longer run.

In Europe more widely it will depend on how the load is shared.


1. CL - April 7, 2020

“Germany…had more than 100,000 laboratory-confirmed infections as of Monday morning, more than any other country except the United States, Italy and Spain.
But with 1,584 deaths, Germany’s fatality rate stood at 1.6 percent, compared with 12 percent in Italy, around 10 percent in Spain, France and Britain, 4 percent in China and nearly 3 percent in the United States. Even South Korea, a model of flattening the curve, has a higher fatality rate, 1.8 percent….
Germany has been testing far more people than most nations…..
But there are also significant medical factors that have kept the number of deaths in Germany relatively low, epidemiologists and virologists say, chief among them early and widespread testing and treatment, plenty of intensive care beds and a trusted government whose social distancing guidelines are widely observed.’


2. makedoanmend - April 7, 2020

I’ve been rather crudely trying to gauge a spectrum upon which to view how various governments have reacted to the pandemic. Without attaching particular political value judgements to each government, I would say the effectiveness goes something like China – Germany – USA where the Chinese govt (whatever their initial short comings) implemented almost draconian containment policies which seem to have been largely successful compared to that of the dismal USA preparation and response.

What really stands out for me is that at one time the USA would have been leading the charge against the virus on a national and international level. Those days seem to be gone. Have they gutted their federal agencies to such an extent? Or have they fragmented their knowledge base by privatising too many govt functions? Whatever, it’s a definite sea-change.


3. makedoanmend - April 7, 2020

hoo boy…

Some USA MSM observations over the last month with regard to the corona virus:


WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2020

What sort of people are these?


4. makedoanmend - April 7, 2020

A more human look of how a NYC doctor is coping & how their wider society is responding…

Liked by 1 person

5. CL - April 7, 2020

“England’s chief medical officer has admitted the UK has a “lot to learn” from Germany over its rapid roll out of coronavirus testing,…
As Britain’s daily death rate hit a record 786, taking total hospital deaths to more than 6,000, Prof Whitty told a Downing Street press conference: “We all know that Germany got ahead in terms of its ability to do testing for the virus and there’s a lot to learn from that and we’ve been trying to learn the lessons from that.”…
While Britain is struggling to carry out 15,000 tests a day — up from only 1,500 at the start of the crisis — Germany has been recording tests of some 50,000 a day. The peak of the crisis in the UK is expected over the Easter weekend.
Germany is reporting around 150 deaths per day. When the UK was the same number of days into its outbreak, its daily death toll was more than 500.”

“As COVID-19 deaths spike in African-American and immigrant communities, almost a third of New York City’s infections are in Queens, one of the most diverse places in the world, and many in the hardest-hit neighborhoods are undocumented and working-class. We speak with Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the neighborhoods at the epicenter of the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, about how the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic is causing “deaths of incompetence,” “deaths of science denial” and “deaths of inequality.”-


6. tafkaGW - April 7, 2020

I hope I didn’t paint a too positive picture of the health service here.

Only three months ago the same health minister Jens Spahn – who must be counting his lucky stars that it didn’t happen – was touting the closure of many ‘inefficient’ beds in hospitals across the country. Standard neo-lib fare.

The German health system is a mix of private and public like Ireland, just much better funded, with the private sector creaming off profits from public research and provision, and patients with private as opposed to standard public health insurance able to buy privileged access.

A fully public system, while maintaining federal decentralisation, with equal care for all, could do more for the same costs, because it wouldn’t have to pay profit taxes to the private sector.

Liked by 2 people

7. gregtimo - April 8, 2020

The German response within their own country seems admirable, but the economic impact of the measures are more drastic than elsewhere according to this Blog (referred to by Glen Greenwald the harassed left Guardianista and Lula fan living in Brasil ) . This is turn helps explain their reluctance to help Italy and Spain in the current ‘Corona-bonds’ furore . I suspect that similar thinking is informing the centre-left Finnish government’s supporting the Germans sadly .
To their credit I suppose the left of the Greens (as in the MEP Sven Giegold anyhow) -via Giegold’s email list https://weareinthistogether.eu/petition/european-solidarity-now-in-the-interest-of-all-member-states/
and as you’d expect Die Linke (I dont know how actively) are opposing the Government’s nationalistic ‘blockade of corona bonds’ https://www.die-linke.de/themen/international/ausgewaehlte-presseerklaerungen/news/bundesregierung-muss-blockade-von-corona-bonds-beenden/

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 8, 2020

At what point do the Germans recognise the reality?


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