Covid-19 mortality in Germany

There have been many comments on the relatively low mortality in Germany relative to the number of confirmed cases. The median age of infected persons in Germany is 47 compared to 64 years in Italy. Many Germans were infected while skiing in Austria or northern Italy (the same is true for Norway and Iceland, which also imported the problem this way) and these younger, healthier patients have a lower risk of severe outcomes.

Germany has relied heavily on PCR testing from an early stage. Because of this the total number of confirmed cases includes many light cases that might otherwise have remained undetected. Last week about 350,000 PCR tests were performed in Germany, an average of 50,000 a day. This compares to 28,000 people in total who have been tested in Japan so far. Japan’s population is about 50% larger than Germany’s.

By tracing these mostly mild cases with large scale PCR testing, the authorities have prevented the spread to other more at risk groups of the population.

The youngest person in Germany to die from Covid-19 so far was 28 years old and had a pre-existing condition.

There is a distinct gender bias in fatality. 84% of the 31 persons under 60 to die were male (26m, 5f). 73% of the 44 persons between 60-69 were male (32m, 12f). In the 70-79 bracket, 78% of the 130 who died were male (102m, 28f). For 80-89, the largest age group with 305 deaths, the ratio is 61% male (185m, 120f) even though far fewer men reach this age than women. Even in the 90 and above bracket (71 deaths), male deaths still outnumber female deaths (38m, 33f).

On March 30, the number of new infections in Germany dropped close to the number of fresh recoveries (4,450 vs. 4,289), which recently increased. Combined with 104 deaths this meant that the number of active cases (total confirmed infections – deaths – recoveries) only climbed by 57 or 0.1%. This is the lowest rate of increase since the start of the epidemic, which if it continues gives reason to be hopeful.

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