By mid-January, scientists in Germany had developed a test for a virus in China that had not yet escaped into the global community.
Wuhan – the Chinese epicentre – went into lockdown on January 23, but the rest of the world hadn’t yet cottoned on to the fact that within weeks COVID-19 would have stopped all of our lives as we know it.
But Germany was already preparing.
WATCH: German Chancellor Angela Merkel updating her citizens on social distancing rules. Post continues after video.
Not only did they have a test by January, they were ready to use it just a few weeks later.
A few months down the track and Germany’s neighbours Italy and France were recording astronomically high fatality rates from COVID-19, with Italy recording the most amount of deaths in the entire world.
At the time of writing, Italy has 115,242 cases and nearly 14,000 deaths and France has 59,000 cases and close to 5,500 deaths.
By way of comparison, Germany has 84,794 cases and 1,100 deaths – and they have at least 10-20 million more people than the countries listed above.
Their fatality rate is approximately 0.6 per cent of confirmed cases, whereas Italy’s is above 10 per cent, reports Sky News.
Despite being one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic, experts think Germany’s fast and widespread testing is a large part of the reason their numbers are significantly lower.
The current COVID-19 figures.
They’re currently pumping out 500,000 tests a week – and it’s giving them a clearer picture of the overall situation in their country, so they can clamp down on outbreaks quicker and more efficiently. They’re also able to pick up on more mild symptoms or asymptotic cases.
“The reason why we in Germany have so few deaths at the moment compared to the number of infected can be largely explained by the fact that we are doing an extremely large number of lab diagnoses,” said virologist Dr. Christian Drosten, reports 9News.
The other thing that’s helping Germany is their early preparation of resources.
As AA reports, once a country’s intensive care beds and ventilators reach their limits, the number of deaths increase, which is what we’ve seen in Italy.