Covid-19 Reality Check: The Situation In Germany in March 2021
You surely remember my earlier articles about Covid-19 in Germany.
Here is my motive to look into that matter: I have an office in Germany.
I have to keep our staff there on their toes. And I have to make business decisions for that office. It is about profit and loss.
This was my latest article about the Covid-19 situation in Germany, written in December 2020:
These were my two main statements in that 3-months-old article:
… you can see that – if everything continues as it does now – the still available ICU beds run out at around the end of February, and the German health system must then tap into the “emergency” beds, whatever that is.
That is the time when the official health system in Germany will become loud.
In February or March 2021, there will be some very bad mood in Germany. There will be still enough “emergency” ICU beds left, about 10,000 if you follow the graph above. But there will be some very bad mood.
Reality Check: What Has Happened Since December 2020
Germany is in a state of mixed lock-down. Some shops are closed, others are not. Gyms are closed. Restaurants are closed. Barber shops were closed but they are open now. Public transport is up and running. Production sites and schools are mainly running, except if there are specific reasons to shut individual ones down. Very few places have curfews, most don’t. The local situation can change within days, and without warning: the city of Mannheim was released from lockdown on 08 March 2021 and went back to lockdown again one week later, on 16 March 2021.
Our staff in the Munich office has been allowed to come to our office for work purposes. The mothers among our staff have been mostly at home, looking after their kids, or they have been working in the office. Some have decided to work from home, anyway, despite being able to come to our office.
December, January, and February was wintertime in Germany. And when I say “winter” then I mean a real winter with snow and low temperatures. Ski resorts were closed (remember that Covid-19 started in an Italian ski resort, back in January 2020?). My friends sent me photos from their skiing trips that they took, despite the ski lifts not being operative: yes, you can also walk up a hill and then ride it down.
Photos sent to me from Germany showed crowds gathering outside under the winter sun: “Beautiful! Why do we need these safe-distance measures at all?”
The Free ICU Beds in Germany
These are figures for the public health system today that I predicted back in December 2020 (3 months ago):
The light blue area is the critical one: the number of free ICU beds.
And these are these figures for the public health system today:
This is good news!
My earlier statement #1 did not come true. The number of free ICU beds stabilized from about 01 January onwards at around 3,500 free ICU beds in Germany. The German health system never had to tap into the “emergency” beds.
This may change soon, though. As I am writing these lines I find this article in my daily newsletter (click here): “Germany’s intensive care doctors have called for a two-week hard lockdown in order to avoid overwhelming the health care system.”
That leads me to my next topic.
Can Germany Now Lift The Safe-Distance Measures?
The number of new Covid-19 cases looks like a roller coaster. Google has introduced a 7-day average (dark blue line) into its statistics, that removes oscillation artifacts (the light blue peaks and valleys):
The number of daily new cases went down from about 20,000/day in December 2020 to 7,000/day in February 2021. This number of daily new cases is currently rising again and it will soon reach the old values from December 2020.
That will also bring the German bureaucrats back to the situation in December 2020. The still available ICU beds can run out shortly, and the German health system must then tap into the “emergency” beds.
So there will not be any changes in the safe-distance measures in Germany soon.
The Public Mood in Germany
As I am writing these lines I am in Singapore, so I have no direct way to experience the mood in Germany. But I am told that the public mood in Germany is bad.
The German government just presented a plan for a total lock-down for two days between the public Easter holidays, and that plan has been withdrawn a short time after releasing it: there was a strong blowback from the population against that plan. Nobody understood why just these two days’ extra lock-down would make a difference in the overall status of the Covid-19 situation.
Now, after the total lock-down for two days between the public Easter holidays having been scrapped, questions arise whether the government is competent for doing its job. Future government plans may be blown back by the public in the same way.
On top of this, the national vaccination program has been delayed.
I cannot tell how bad the mood in Germany is but here come two headlines that are typical for what people read on a daily basis.
The RKI has said that Germany is now in a third wave of infections — made worse by the spread of more contagious variants of the virus — and predicted a big jump in cases.
Germany: Frustration grows
The Financial World Has Given Germany Up, Until Winter 2021
Goldmoney provided an excellent assessment of the European Union’s economic prospects. The prospects are bad.
The failure to distribute vaccines means that even on a best hopes’ basis, emerging from the crisis will face considerable delays with lockdowns likely to continue into next winter.
Do I need to add anything?
My statement #2 above became true: “In February or March 2021, there will be some very bad mood in Germany.”
The Covid-19 Situation Worldwide
The cumulative number of worldwide Covid-19 deaths has been removed from that website https://ourworldindata.org/covid-deaths. It tells us how far we – the world – are into the Covid-19 pandemic. My earlier article (click here) explains why that is an important number for business people, it will tell us when there are no more people left to be infected with the Coronavirus. This is what matters for me. There is no more national business today. Everything is connected and everything is linked. Let there be a Covid-19 outbreak somewhere in one part of this world and there will be a practical impact in another part of this world.
The cumulative number of worldwide Covid-19 cases is still available, here https://www.statista.com/statistics/1103040/cumulative-coronavirus-covid19-cases-number-worldwide-by-day/
We can use that graph instead. Just multiply that cumulative number of worldwide Covid-19 cases by 0.015 and you have the cumulated number of worldwide Covid-19 deaths. I have just graphically normalized the two data sources to each other, that is where that factor 0.015 stems from.
We are currently at about 120 million Covid-19 cases worldwide. That translates to about 1.8 million Covid-19 deaths, and that is far away from the 9 million Covid-19 deaths that we can expect if only 20% of the world population becomes infected with Covid-19 (click here for my earlier assessment).
And yes, I have taken the vaccines into account.
There will be more lockdowns in the future, flaring up locally all over the world. Without any warning.
I renew my earlier prediction here, we are nine of ten years away from successfully fighting the Covid-19 disease.
I may not live anymore when that is achieved. The same can happen to you.
We will need to work from home again if we are surprised by new lockdowns in the future.
We will probably have to go into quarantine at some point in the future.
Be prepared when that happens. Start now.
Martin “reality” Schweiger