Germans have watched in horror as cases in the United States, Brazil and elsewhere surged long after Germany flattened its own curve of infections in April.
COVID-19 Case Counts
The country of 83 million has reported slightly over 200,000 confirmed cases and 9,077 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak; the rate of new infections now averages about three per 100,000 inhabitants a week.
According to a New York Times database, more than 3.5 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 138,200 have died. Granted, the US has a larger population than Germany at just over 328 million people. But, according to USA Today, the average number of new daily cases per capita nationwide has increased from 11.1 per 100,000 during the week ending June 30 to 14.8 per 100,000 in the week ending July 7, an increase of 3.6 daily new cases per 100,000 people.
At last check, Fresno County has over 8,700 COVID-19 cases. According to California data, that represents almost 374 cases for every 100,000 residents since the beginning of the pandemic. With case counts continuing to trend up, Fresno County remains on the state’s monitoring list.
The government official overseeing Germany’s pandemic response expressed confidence Tuesday to the Associated Press that his country can avoid a second big wave of coronavirus cases if people respect rules such as social distancing and wearing masks, but also floated the idea of local quarantines to curb fresh outbreaks.
Helge Braun, who has coordinated the country’s fight against the pandemic from the start, said the government is considering limiting travel in and out of areas that see a sudden, unexplained surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Our measures are appropriate to preventing a second big wave,” Braun told the AP during an interview at the Chancellery in Berlin. “But this requires us to stay the course, not get careless in our measures, and maintain our respect for the virus.”
Braun attributed Germany’s relative success in part to swift action during the early stages of the pandemic.
United States Versus Other Counties
Using a chart from the European CDC to compare the United States to other countries shows a stark divergence in recent days.
By clicking at various points on the graph, you are able to see where countries have stood at any point in time since the beginning of the pandemic. You can also add and subtract which counties (bottom left button) you’d like to compare.
Germany’s Coronavirus Tracing App
Braun, whose day job as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff includes coordinating the government’s digital policy, also helped spearhead the development of a smartphone app to notify individuals who might have been exposed to someone with the virus.
Germany’s Corona-Warn-App has been downloaded more than 15.5 million times since its launch last month.
Smartphone apps have been touted as a high-tech tool in the effort to track down potential COVID-19 infections. Experts say finding new cases quickly is key to clamping down on fresh clusters, especially as countries slowly emerge from lockdowns and try to avoid a second wave of infections and deaths.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)