"Germany could also suffer from a shortage of respirators for the sick"

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Brian Adam
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“Germany could also suffer from a shortage of respirators for the sick”

The federal government and other public bodies this week deployed a safety net to protect the national economy with funds totalling 1.2 trillion euros

Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for virology and coordinator in Germany of the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, warned today that the German health system threatens to overflow. “We must count on our capabilities not being enough,” says Wieler at the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung Sunday, in which he commented that Germany could also reach a situation like Italy and suffer from a shortage of respirators for the sick. The low mortality rate in this country concerning the number of people infected compared to other nations that suffer the wave of infections with “Covid-19” is because in Germany extensive tests have been carried out for weeks on the population, explains the expert. Furthermore, the profile of patients affected so far in this country by the coronavirus is different from that of other countries.

Most of the initial infected in Germany have been people who do not belong to risk groups, with massive chains of contagion, for example, between skiers, explains Wieler. “If we registered more infections in nursing homes or hospitals, an increase” in the most severe cases and deaths would be to be feared, said the RKI president. The residences and other centres of the Third Age have been isolated from the outside world for weeks, and the infections by a coronavirus in this type of institutions are until now anecdotal in Germany. Wieler also warned against a rapid return to normalcy as some politicians demand. “From a medical point of view, we must maintain spatial distances for as long as possible,” said the virologist, who stressed that Germany is at the beginning of the epidemic and people should take it very seriously.

Leading economists from different German financial institutions and organizations have agreed to point out that Germany is drifting towards a crisis of severe proportions due to the coronavirus pandemic. All predict a drop in the country’s economic performance of a minimum of 5%, similar to that of the 2009 financial crisis. “To slow down the spread of the Cobid -19 virus, the German economy must take a necessary break that will last at least two months,” Katharina Utermöhl of the Allianz group said in a survey by the German news agency DPA. Jens Oliver Niklasch of the public institute LBBW acknowledges that “there will be a collapse, but we do not yet know its extent” and predicts that once the pandemic is overcome, Germany will not recover at the same rate that it has forcibly reduced its economic activity.

The federal government and other public bodies this week rolled out a safety net to protect the national economy with funds totalling 1.2 trillion euros and accounting for 30% of Germany’s annual economic performance, said Untermöhl, who expects a rapid increase. Unemployment immediately. A prediction shared by Marc Schattenberg of Deutsche Bank and calculating an increase in unemployment of 0.5% to a rate of 5.6% if the crisis is overcome in late May. Fritzi Köhler-Geib, the chief economist at the KfW Group, points out that unemployment will not rise explosively in Germany thanks, above all, to Berlin rescue packages. “These especially help affected companies overcome liquidity problems and save them from insolvency,” says the KfW analyst.

The Research Institute of Labor and Professional Marking (IAB) of the Federal Employment Agency is, despite all optimism, and expects that in 2020 the average number of unemployed will be 2.36 million people, only 90,000 more than in 2019, while the number of people with work will remain stable with 45.26 million who contribute to social security. A calculation that considers the economic slowdown until the end of May and six more weeks for the economy to partially return to normal and reach pre-crisis levels by the end of the year.

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