Is the coronavirus death rate worse in Germany or the US?

Is the coronavirus death rate worse in Germany or the US?

Is the coronavirus death rate worse in Germany or the US?

On Thursday, German newspapers reported that the country now has a higher coronavirus death rate than the US. So, let’s take a look at the facts and figures to investigate this claim.

Germany vs. America

When it comes to the basic numbers, it is clear that the US has been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than Germany. The US has a population of 382,2 million people and has reported 23,5 million coronavirus infections and 389.000 deaths. On the other hand, approximately 83 million people live in Germany, which has reported around 2 million infections and over 45.000 deaths, as of Friday.

The US also has the highest number of new confirmed infections per million people per seven days, with a value of around 704. The same figure for Germany is around 305 infections per million people every week, the third-highest in the world behind the US and the UK.

When it comes to the coronavirus death rate per capita, an average of around 11 people per every million die while from coronavirus-related causes every seven days, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US has a slightly lower value, with just under 10 deaths per million people every week.

For comparison, the EU average is around 7,5 deaths per million people per week. Currently, the death rate for all coronavirus cases in Germany is 2,2 percent, compared to 1,7 percent in the US.

Explanations for Germany’s death rate

America’s high level of infections and fewer deaths in comparison to Germany could be explained by each country's different approach to testing. In the US, four coronavirus tests are performed per 1.000 people, whereas in Germany, just one test is performed per 1.000 people.

This not only explains why the US is reporting a higher number of cases but also explains why Germany might have a higher death rate. Since coronavirus test results do not impact the number of reported deaths, the ratio between infections and deaths shifts accordingly.

Another reason for Germany’s death rate might be related to age. Elderly people are more likely to die as a result of being infected with coronavirus and the average age of the German population (44,5 years) is significantly higher than the average age in the US (38,3 years).

This is reflected in the coronavirus death statistics. According to the RKI, 96 percent of people who die from coronavirus in Germany are older than 60 and 70 percent are older than 80. In the US, 80 percent are older 65 but only 60 percent are older than 75, according to the US health authority CDC.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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