MUNICH — (MunichNOW Comment) — The jury is still out, and in fact, has not begun deliberations. As countries struggle and grapple with a microbial enemy on a level last seen a century ago, we see different reactions from world leaders to the threat. The reactions vary in intensity, duration and timing. Different governments have used disparate reactions to this coronavirus, and many factors will come into play for the jury’s decision on which country will win the title of ‘The Most Appropriate and Effective Defense Against a Pandemic’.
It’ll be small consolation. China, whose reaction was harsh, accomplished its first goal, to stop the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus by any means necessary. That method would not work in Europe or America, which both value individual rights much differently than China and its people. On the other end, the total allowance of people to carry on with their daily lives for too long has helped lead to the crisis in Bergamo and New York. London will probably be next.
Germany’s reaction was very quick and decisive. Due to this, Germany could afford to be more lenient with people’s rights than most other European countries. Merkel even praised the ‘effort of the Germans when they stayed in voluntarily on a warm Saturday evening’. As they tend to do these days, Germany immediately began working behind the scenes, building up their medical infrastructure to a point that even recently, Germany has just taken on critically ill patients from both France and Italy. It was a build up without panic.
Here, there are some cases of medical personal not having the right equipment, but nearly as often we hear of in New York. Germany recognized that when Bergamo became a daily front page story, it was coming here, so Germany began to put in place things needed in such a crisis. This is quite probably the main reason that the death rate in both Germany and Austria has been so low.
Chancellor Merkel, who has a doctorate in Quantum Chemistry, told the nation that 60-70% of the population will get this virus and the only thing we could do was ‘flatten the curve’. Germans believe in science almost to a fault, so they understood. Most people over the age of 30 began to social distance themselves and SLOWLY began to stock up on dried pastas, rice, beans and tinned meats or fish before Merkel’s warning.
Our 8-yr-old’s second grade class has made a very smooth transition to digital school at home. One can imagine here in Bavaria, there was enough money to make sure that a contingency plan was at least discussed and practiced, and could be implemented so quickly. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been generally effective.
The small land area of Germany (the size of Texas) makes it easier for national stocks of medical and consumer goods to be replenished and distributed, medical and consumer goods. One thing was missing, however. Unfortunately, a few too many Germans have a close relationship with America, and therefore, sadly, there was an unforeseen run on toilet paper which not even @realDonaldTrump could have imagined.
Germany’s phase down of things as they prepared, allowed most restaurants to have a few options. Restaurants were allowed to slowly scale back and many have reopened for takeout or delivery. Our local pizza joint went ballistic last night with phone ahead orders.
Germany’s reaction was simple mathematics. Flattening the bell curve on the bottom too, so the economy could begin to adjust. The state and companies take care of the workers. Unemployment money is enough for most to get by. The grocery stores are stocked and full, except a few are still out of toilet paper, the local farmer’s market is back. Just do the math, 2 meters is two meters.
Germany did not need to implement Draconian measures because the chancellor told people here early enough that it was math and science. Together, they are the truth if the data input is accurate. Merkel did not need to lie to her people. She just explained the math and the science.