Respect yes, fear no - Covid19 in Germany and what you need to know

At the start. I am 100% behind the measures that are currently in place, social distancing and masking requirements. However, I am a massive opponent when it comes to a comprehensive lockdown, since in my view economic factors outperform the suffering that is caused by Covid-19 in the long term.

Covid-19 is a serious disease and does not even fall under the category of conspiracies. This to me.

To the best of my knowledge, all sources used are reliable and legitimate.

They come from the Federal Statistical Office, Statista, and the Robert Koch Institute and are linked in the appendix and can be viewed by everyone.

But now to the current Covid-19 happening in Germany.

Basically, we should finally begin to differentiate between case numbers and death numbers in more detail. This is an important part of the federal government's duty to provide information and, in my opinion, should be massively increased.

Especially now that the cold season is back in full swing, people are fearful for their health in the presence of Covid-19, as the number of cases is increasing exponentially again. However, my motto here is fear no, respect and caution yes.

Here's why:

The daily case numbers initially only play an underweighted role in the overall picture. Although they are increasing, they do not provide any information about the severity of the individual virus courses and are only a blunt measurement number.

The comparison between the number of cases and deaths itself also entails a high degree of misjudgment. If this thought were to be continued, however, we would currently have a death rate of 2.47% of all people suffering from Covid-19 in Germany.

So for every 100 sick people we would have 2.47 deaths. That in itself is quite a lot, generally every dead person is one too many.

But this approach is too general and not really meaningful. However, there are more meaningful approaches, which I will explain in a moment.

It is therefore more important to evaluate the statistics on deaths of Covid-19 infected patients in order to draw conclusions about the persistence and threat of the virus. I am neither an epidemiologist nor a medical specialist, but statistics help me to objectively evaluate certain facts with a neutral approach. Here are my most recent findings:

The virus cannot be compared with a "simple" flu, as the symptoms can be more massive in individual cases and the death rate is already higher than the number of deaths caused by a "simple" flu virus in the past. In addition, according to current knowledge, Covid-19 is transmitted more easily and efficiently.

However, the statistics are a bit vague. Corona victims include all fatalities among whom the virus was explicitly detected, even if other previous illnesses or similar complications were found. Therefore, it is almost impossible to distinguish between flu death and Covid-19 death this year.

However, in order to be able to make a numerical comparison here too, I have used the estimates of the Robert Koch Institute from 2017/18. The result is that an estimated 25,100 people in Germany died from influenza during the 2017/18 flu wave. For comparison. We are currently just under 10,000 deaths in Germany, although the year is not over yet and unfortunately there will be a few more cases. So we see, we're not that far removed from an average flu year in terms of deaths. (not the severity of the disease process)

But now on to the analysis of the death rate. Let's start with extensive statistics and then work our way step by step towards a Covid-19 comparison.

Based on the available data, I always use 2018 as a comparison year. So I differentiate between 2018 and the current year 2020.

In 2018, 954,874 deaths were recorded in Germany. If you go a step further and look at the division into causes of death, you can see that diseases of the circulatory system, neoplasms and diseases of the respiratory system account for the majority (68.63%) of the causes of death. This also includes deaths from flu, among other things. So we see that circulatory and respiratory diseases, along with neoplasms, are responsible for most of the causes of death in Germany.

Now let's go one step further and look at the age structure of the deaths in detail. People aged 50 and under accounted for 3.24% of all deaths in 2018. So that's a pretty small percentage of the total. If we move in people up to the age of 60, we end up with 9.43%. The remaining deaths, i.e. 90.57%, are to be assigned to the age group 60 and over.

From this it can be further deduced that older people are much more likely to die than younger age groups. You probably should have known that without statistics, but the comparison is now extremely important.

But in order to keep perspective here too and not have to express everything in percentages. We are currently talking about a total of 27 deaths, of people under 30 years of age in whom the virus has been detected and another 85 more cases if we include deaths up to the age of 50 years.

Because now we come to one of the crucial points. We compare the statistics of causes of death from 2018 with the most recent version of deaths from Covid-19 virus, in terms of demographics. Here we see behavior similar to that in 2018.

Currently, people up to 50 years of age account for 1.32%, people up to 60 years of age for 5.07% and the remainder of those aged 60 and over for 94.93% of deaths caused by Covid-19.

In my opinion, this point is essential and of great importance in order to be able to put the number of cases in a suitable context.

Will the number of cases continue to rise? Yes. Unfortunately, will the death toll continue to rise? Again, this is more than likely, but we are still in an average year in terms of death rate and in terms of the demographic distribution of deaths.

Last but not least, I would now like to put the weekly death figures in Germany from the Robert Koch Institute aside, which graphically depicts the phenomenon again in a very meaningful way.

The deaths from calendar week 38 of this year are classified here. Here we also see that we are still in an average “year of death”. You can also see very drastically how low the Covid-19-related deaths are compared to the total number of deaths. Covid-19-related deaths have so far (fortunately) played a minimal role in the overall statistics.

This is a statistic that many more people should see in order to put case numbers and death numbers in context. However, I fear that this information could lead to a reinforcement of a more ruthless behavior and is therefore not publicly mentioned in the reporting.

covid19 germany lukas kuemmerle

But finally, what can be done with the statistics?

Caution and respect for the Covid-19 virus are definitely appropriate. However, the disease is far from a death sentence. If you compare the deaths with an ordinary year like 2018, we see that we are also in 2020 in an average year in terms of the death rate. However, increased restrictions also currently apply, which keeps the number of cases low.

In my opinion, further precautionary measures such as wearing a mask are appropriate, especially considering that the virus is still relatively unknown to us and we do not yet have the degree of treatment options, let alone vaccines.

Older people are and will remain at greater risk than average, which makes the debate about a two-class society inevitable in order to prevent economic deficits in the long term.

Rather, life should go on again, as usual and without great restrictions. Another very decisive key will be successful tracing, i.e. the quarantine of potentially infected people. The new motto should therefore rather be to learn how to deal with the virus correctly within our society. Nationwide lockdowns are certainly no longer part of this and, from a purely statistical point of view, were completely disproportionate. From a point of view, however, they can still be appropriate.

Rather, it is important to protect risk groups and elderly people separately, but not to negatively affect life as a whole within society in the long term.

Whether we like it or not, a generational conflict will intensify, between young and old, between low and high risk of death and between low and high economic cuts.