Fully topical due to Angela Merkel’s retraction on the restrictions, the management of the pandemic in Germany is under scrutiny than ever.

Angela Merkel before a press conference.

In the spring 2020 tsunami, Germany aroused all kinds of suspicions: it was not conceivable that your data could be that good. It is not that there were no cases and it is certainly not that there were no deaths … simply the mortality rate remained at levels too close to 1% while in Spain, France, Italy or the United Kingdom we were close to 10%.

Conspiracy theories filled social media: they sure are hiding reality or they are sweetening it. The main hypothesis in this regard was that Germany did not count all the dead who had tested positive for Covid-19 but only those whose death was understood to be caused exclusively by this disease.

Obviously, it was not. Germany kept meticulous accounting and even better than the one we wore, that we left thousands on the corners, completely overcome by the pandemic.

What happened was that did many more tests, detected more and They did not focus only on the most serious cases with a sadder ending. In that sense, Germany was the great reference for months.

Not only because of the management of his figures but because of his common sense and prudence, exemplified in Merkel’s tears when anticipating the second wave or in the harsh, stony speeches of Christian Drosten, the chief virologist, with more affinity for the theories of Margarita del Val than for those of Fernando Simón.

Perhaps because of that image of German efficiency, we watched with some envy the news that told us: “They are going to sell tests in supermarkets“Or when we read” They are going to set up vaccination centers throughout the country “without understanding what that meant, that is, an obvious primary care problem.

The issue, this time, was not to imitate Germany, but rejoice that we weren’t in your situation. The middle terms do not play well in our country, almost always between euphoria and complex, but in this specific case, Spain has many reasons to be proud: its primary care network, its many health centers spread throughout the country they covered a sufficient population and with sufficient diligence not to have to resort to eccentricities.

The European countries with the most confirmed cases of Covid.

The European countries with the most confirmed cases of Covid.

When you have to put the test in a supermarket so that people buy it and do it themselves as best they can (and then manage that information) it is because there is no structure worthy of the name in terms of surveillance, detection and tracing.

And so, every time we looked at the infection curve in Germany, always low and flat, we said: “Wow, how well they are doing” without fully understanding why there were hundreds of deaths reported every day. Suddenly, the tortilla had turned around: while the mortality rates of the Mediterranean countries fell to around 2.5-3%, that of Germany rose to find itself at the same threshold but in the opposite direction.

Currently, according to data from the Worldometers portal, Germany occupies the 31st place in number of tests per inhabitant… throughout Europe. The proportion in Spain (16th place) is almost 80% higher. Only sixteen of the forty-seven countries that appear in the list do fewer tests than the Germans and it must be taken into account that these figures are total and that Germany started with a lot of advantage, that is, if we restricted the data to the last three or four months would probably be even harsher with the reality of the country still chaired by Angela Merkel.

Going to a supermarket and a “do it yourself” is a bad sign… And something similar happens when you have to set up pharmacies or social centers to vaccinate the population.

It could be understood in a setting where some countries had many more doses than others and they had to put them to full speed before they lost their effectiveness, but it is not the case.

When Pedro Sánchez announced the vaccination campaign in Spain, spoke of 13,000 points prepared to inoculate doses as of December 27. The figure coincided with the number of health centers (3,000) and public clinics (10,000) that depend on the different health authorities.

Meanwhile, Germany spoke of velodromes, airports and all kinds of exotic places where a large number of people could gather to vaccinate them en masse. It sounded good but deep down it was a desperate resource for when you don’t have a strong and effective primary care structure.

Administered doses of vaccines in different European countries.

Administered doses of vaccines in different European countries.

Three months later, the results are clear: despite the cumbersome German strategy, the 8.2% of the population has received the first dose of the vaccine and 3.6% have already received both.

In Spain, limiting ourselves to health centers and hospitals -with some exceptions more advertising than anything else like Wanda Metropolitano-, 9.2% of the population has received at least one dose and the 4.8% have already completed the cycle.

In fact, while Spain is slightly above the European Union average, we see that Germany is slightly below. It is not a huge difference, but it proves that the use of large stores tends to have more to do with organizational chaos than with efficiency, no matter how well it is on the news.

In fact, criticism of the opposition to Merkel’s government is being intense in this regard, accusing as usual of improvisation. Some of that there is, without a doubt. Decisions on restrictions that are extended and reduced with too little time difference in the face of general unease are not saved from this improvisation either.

Germany is a country that always He has preferred to sin by excess than by default, but obviously not everyone agrees with that approach as they are not in any country. There is an end-of-cycle scent in everything that surrounds German politics and everything related to the coronavirus could not escape it.