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How South Korea got face masks for everyone and Germany kept fatalities down

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By Trudy Rubin

As U.S. fatalities from COVID-19 rise, Germany's death rate from the virus is roughly half that of America's.

As America's front-line health workers still struggle to obtain face masks, South Korea has a smooth system to distribute masks to its health workers and its entire population.

Both countries are democracies and U.S. allies, not authoritarian regimes like China. So shouldn't we be looking at what these countries are doing right, and whether their methods are applicable here?

The German case is particularly interesting because relatively few people seem to be dying. Their fatality rate from virus cases as of early this week stood less than half the nearly 3 percent rate in this country.

Three key factors deserve the credit: strong leadership, early and persistent testing and a robust health system that works.

"Germany is doing more testing than other countries, but still not enough," I was told by Anna Sauerbrey, deputy editor-in-chief of Der Tagesspiegel, by phone from Berlin.

Despite President Donald Trump's false claim that the United States is now doing more per capita tests than any other country, several countries are doing better. Germany, as of late last week, was testing one in 90 citizens, compared with one in every 273 people in the United States.

These numbers enable German officials to find infections........

© The Korea Times