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Victors of the global villain: how Germany got it right with COVID-19 vs the USA.


Strain. Anguish. Confusion. In the current global climate, the coronavirus has tested us to its fullest – and in many cases, has undoubtedly prevailed over some of the strongest superpowers in the world. Through placing an initial focus on the USA – who have recorded over 6.8 million cases and 200,000 deaths, we take a second to examine the winners and losers of COVID-19: and why Germany should be considered a prime frontrunner in dealing with the deadly virus.

Walther Leonhard. It may not stand out as a name you would remember in the years to come – but he and so many others of Germany’s assigned ‘containment scouts’ have proven integral in preventing the spread of coronavirus cases amongst thousands of German citizens. Despite his role as a court officer in Munich at the time, Leonhard was assigned the task of a ‘Kontaktmanager’ – who traced and contacted coronavirus carriers and commanded them to self-isolate for two weeks.

As one of the first countries to introduce the track and trace system to combat the virus, Germany installed what has now risen to become one of the most effective methods in stalling the spread of the virus. Coupled with a swift six-week lockdown and a well-prepared government, Germany’s death toll remained incredibly low in comparison to other European countries. It goes without saying that their fast initiative and patience in their methods were, by far, their most effective tool in limiting the destruction of the coronavirus.

Just over 7800km across the German border, the USA have been seen as the worst-hit nation of the virus. With over 200,000 deaths officially recorded, one seems to wonder if they can ever fully recover from the impacts of the pandemic. In explaining their downfall however, their detriment can be retraced to two factors: impatience and stubbornness. At one point during June 2020 – stabilising rates of the coronavirus saw states such as Texas, California, and Florida reopen almost immediately from an initial lockdown. To put matters in simple words at how costly this decision was: California alone saw a 90% increase in coronavirus cases after reopening. NINETY PERCENT. With no track-and-trace systems in place, the sudden rise in cases then saw major delays in testing – making it almost impossible to identify and isolate carriers of the virus.

To make matters worse, the act of mask-wearing became a prominent cause for debate across the nation. A June survey found that a mere 49% of conservative Republicans wore a mask when outdoors, while that number was 83% among liberal Democrats. Steered on by Donald Trump initially refusing to wear a mask at his public events, this quickly resonated with his supporters who also disregarded social distancing  suggestions from health experts.

In observing two countries at either end of the ‘coronavirus success spectrum’, it is clear to rank the initiatives to duplicate and those to avoid moving forward towards the latter stages of 2020. It has indeed proven to be a hugely eventful year, with signs of even more unparalleled twists and turns to come.