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Coronavirus Update: Germany? And Italy!

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What a Difference a Day Makes!

As of March 22, 2020 4:13 am

Germany Climbs to Top 5 of Confirmed Cases

Photo by Eric Marty on Unsplash
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 22,364
  • Active: 22,041 (99%)
  • Deaths: 84 (<1%)
  • Recovered: 239 (1%)

On Friday, Germany had 18,610 confirmed cases of coronavirus. As of early Sunday morning, it jumped to the 5th highest number worldwide, topping 22,041 cases. That’s a 20% increase. But what’s remarkable is that the death rate is less than 1 percent. When we looked at Italy’s death rate on Friday, it was 8%. Today, it’s worse! 

Deaths Soar in Italy

Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 53,578
  • Active Cases: 42,681 (77%)
  • Deaths: 4,825 (9%) (1,420 more deaths)
  • Recovered: 6,072 (11%) (1,632 more recoveries)

On Friday, March 20, 2020, Italy had 3,045 deaths from the coronavirus. Today, that number has climbed by 1,420 and is now a staggering 4,825. Not only is this the highest percentage of deaths in the world from coronavirus it’s also the highest actual number in a single country, surpassing the number of dead in China.

You may have heard that the reason why Italian citizens are dying from coronavirus at such an alarming rate is because of their aged population. But how old is Germany?

  • Italy’s Population: 62,246,674 
    • 0-14 years: 18.62%
    • 15-24 years: 13.12%
    • 25-54 years: 39.29% 
    • 55-64 years: 12.94% 
    • 65 years and over: 16.03% (2018 est.)

Italy is ranked 5th worldwide in median age (45.5 years) according to Wikipedia and with a population of over 62 million people, the majority are between the ages of 25-54 years old (indexmundi). So, out of 230 countries, it’s true that they have an older population. But Germany’s median age is higher.  

Look Out Germany!

  • Germany’s Population: 80,457,737
    • 0-14 years: 12.83%
    • 15-24 years: 9.98%
    • 25-54 years: 39.87%
    • 55-64 years: 14.96%
    • 65 years and over: 22.36% (2018 est.)

Germany climbed into the top 5 of worldwide cases, but a notable difference is that less than 1% of those cases have resulted in death. This is in stark contrast to Italy, whose death rate continues to soar and is now the worst in the world. So, why are more people dying in Italy than in Germany? According to Forbes Senior Contributor, Guy Martin, the reason Germany is fairing so much better is (Yes, we all know by now that Italy didn’t respond fast enough), but the Forbes author writes that most of the German cases are younger citizens. He states that many of the German cases were contracted in Italy, by skiers who returned to Germany. Therefore, those who are infected in Germany are the younger population. That’s perhaps good news because younger people have been shown to have better outcomes after contracting the virus, many not even needing medical care.

But that’s the good news. The bad news for Germany is that the number of confirmed cases will rise. And worse, the death rate could end up being worse than Italy’s toll.

We know that older people, on the whole, have poorer outcomes than those who are healthier and younger when they contract the virus.  Take a look at the the percentage of people over 65 in Germany (above). People over 65 make up Germany’s second highest age group. When you compare that to Italy’s second highest age group, you’ll see that Italy’s second largest population is its youngest citizens (0-14 years old). Even if it is the younger population in Germany who have the virus, the probability of spread to the more vulnerable older adults is higher. And we know that can’t be good. 

Another reason Germany may be at a higher risk, is it’s government structure. It’s different from most other countries (National Law review). Berlin represents the Federal Republic of Germany, much like Washington, D.C. is the Capitol of the United States. But Berlin can’t act in a federal capacity. Instead, all of Germany’s 16 States act independently. Berlin has no constitutional control. So, Germany’s outcomes could depend on the level of consensus of its 16 German States.

Having both a higher percentage of older adults than Italy along with the absence of a central government certainly means increased risk. However, a greater risk doesn’t necessarily translate into more deaths, provided German citizens are careful to mitigate the spread of the virus in all the ways that most of the world is doing. But if Germany doesn’t, they could face a higher death toll than Italy.

Don’t Forget About China – The Benchmark

Photo by 郑 无忌 on Unsplash
  • Population: 1,384,688,986 
  • Median Age: 37.4
    • 0-14 years: 17.22% 
    • 15-24 years: 12.32% 
    • 25-54 years: 47.84% 
    • 55-64 years: 11.35% 
    • 65 years and over: 11.27% (2018 est.)
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 81,349
  • Active Cases: March 20: 6,731 (8%) vs. March 22: 5,724 (7%)
  • Deaths: March 20: 3,253 (4%) vs. March 22: 3,265 (4%)
  • Recovered: March 20: 71,266 (88%) vs. March 22: 72,360 (89%)

China has a total of 81,349 cases of coronavirus.  This represents 99 new cases and a declining rate of infection. Notice, too, that China’s highest population percentage is 25-54 years old, by a large majority. This is a little worrisome because the rest of it’s age groups are pretty much evenly distributed and they don’t have a larger percentage of older adults, like that of Germany. 

However, with the largest number of cases and the lowest death rate, China is still the benchmark for where the United States wants to end. China’s active cases continue to decline (to 7% from 8%). Recoveries continue to rise (from 88% to 89%) and the death rate is holding steady at 4 percent. 

Current Data and What’s Ahead for the United States

  • Population: 329,256,465 
  • Age Structure (Median age: 35)
    • 0-14 years: 18.62% (male 31,329,121 /female 29,984,705)
    • 15-24 years: 13.12% (male 22,119,340 /female 21,082,599)
    • 25-54 years: 39.29% (male 64,858,646 /female 64,496,889)
    • 55-64 years: 12.94% (male 20,578,432 /female 22,040,267)
    • 65 years and over: 16.03% (male 23,489,515 /female 29,276,951) (2018 est.)
  • Total Confirmed Cases: 26,747
  • Active Cases: March 20: 14, 400 (98%) vs. March 22: 26,231 (98%)
  • Deaths: March 20: 210 (1.5%) vs. March 22: 340 (1.2%)  
  • Recovered: March 20: 121 (0.8%) vs. March 22: 176 (0.7%) 

The cases of coronavirus in the United States jumped by 44% to 26,747 people. This was expected as increased testing finally gets underway. Keep in mind that 98% of the coronavirus cases in the United States are still active. This means they are alive, but not yet recovered. Also remember, this can still go bad. But here is some good news. It doesn’t appear to be going bad so far.

Despite that 130 more people have died in the United States, the death rate is, ever so slightly, LOWER! (1.2% today vs 1.5% on Friday). There’s more good news. The recovery rate in the United States is also lower. This is good news because while fewer people have recovered, we also know that they didn’t die. They still actively have the the virus and they can survive! Remember, most people will survive. The recovery rate is very high. Let’s not lose sight of this. However, it is still too early to celebrate. So, lets keep washing our hands as we try to find the answer to this one question that’s on everyone’s mind. Who do you sing happy birthday to, when you wash your hands? 

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More to come…  

Visit our Coronavirus Resource Page for coronavirus links from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and World Heath Organization

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