When I reached Dr Rainer Schwertz, in Heidelberg, he expressed something that has been in short supply from nearly everyone in the UK: honest hope that the Covid-19 crisis may be under control. “For four weeks here we have had more recoveries from Covid-19 than new cases,” he told me. Schwertz is head of the public health department in the Rhein-Neckar district of Germany, a local administrative region of over 600,000 people, which includes the city of Heidelberg. Germany has been lauded for its response to the coronavirus crisis, moving quickly with an aggressive track-and-trace strategy that appears to have stalled the outbreak and prevented it from overwhelming the health system—as I write, Germany’s death rate, adjusted for population, is less than a quarter that of the UK.
The response that Schwertz and his deputy, Dr Andreas Welker, outlined to me is surely a big reason why.…
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