The mystery of low German COVID-19 fatality rates


  • Early, aggressive testing, well-equipped ICUs, and faith in the government resulted in a remarkably low death count.


  • The virus and the resulting disease, COVID-19, have hit Germany hard with more than 92,000 infections. But with 1,295 deaths, Germany’s fatality rate stood at 1.4% compared with 12% in Italy and around 10% in Spain, France and Britain.

Factors for low fatality rate in Germany

  • The reasons for Germany’s low death rate can be broadly divided into the following factors:

Statistical factors

  • The average age of those infected is lower in Germany than in many other countries. The average age of contracting the disease in Germany remains relatively low, at 49. In France, it is 62.5, and in Italy 62, according to their latest national reports.
  • Germany has been testing far more people than most nations. That means it is able to identify more people with few or no symptoms, increasing the number of known cases but not the number of fatalities. Germany is conducting around 3,50,000 corona virus tests a week.

Higher level of engagement

  • There has been a high level of engagement and a commitment of public resources. Proactive testing has ensured that the health system has been able to identify people with milder symptoms and suggest hospitalization before they get into a steep decline of health and this has resulted in lower fatalities.

Medical interventions

  • There are also significant medical factors which have aided the low fatality rates. All across Germany, hospitals have expanded their intensive care capacities. The per capita intensive care beds equipped with ventilators stands at 34 per 1,00,000 people, much higher than Italy or Spain.
  • Early and widespread testing has allowed authorities to slow the spread of the pandemic by isolating known cases while they are infectious. This helped limit the surge impact on the health care facilities allowing ample medical attention to the infected patients.

People’s role

  • Given the high level of trust in the government, there was strict observation of social distancing guidelines, indicating the critical role of the people in the fight against the pandemic.


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