I think the exact figures may be exaggerated or misleading, because it’s very clear Germany doesn’t measure anything to do with healthcare the same way others do (something even senior German doctors have commented on), but it’s certainly true that Germany has at least twice as many, maybe three times as many, by any standard. There have definitely been significant cuts in the last decade, but even with that in mind, I suspect there’s some more fundamental difference here, because I doubt we lost more than 50% (i.e. down from 13, say), and in fact I suspect the reduction was much smaller. It’s more likely that either German/Austrian hospital have extremely exceptional intensive care preparations, for no apparent reason. I mean, logically, Germany/Austria don’t suffer more diseases that would require intensive care, and the UK didn’t have a significant intensive care shortage until now (it did have a shortage, but a small one), so I don’t believe Germany/Austria were just running with, say, 4x more intensive care beds than they actually needed. Not sure what that is, but the discrepancy is too large to explain as “better preparedness” or “a better system”. Classification has to be involved to some degree.
Yeah I thought this was really weird, because literally everywhere outside of Asia (where it’s been a cultural fashion to wear medical masks for like two decades or more, even when completely unnecessary and non-beneficial), there are reports of shortages of masks. As @Hanimalle says, do you guys not have those shortages? Do the stores just have enough that they can hand them out?
If not it seems like a good way to prevent both well-behaved citizens (who didn’t buy masks because they were told they shouldn’t, and they were needed for doctors) and the poor (who can’t afford the gouge-y prices people charge for them) from being able to get groceries.
It’s not entirely ridiculous because the main thing masks do is limit how much already-infected people spread the disease, and there will be a lot of people who are infected and either don’t know it, or are in denial/hiding it, but I am surprised given the lack of masks in most places.