Corona — the catastrophe that did not happen

Africa in trouble

“The best advice to Africa is to prepare for the worst and start today.”

Not yet arrived?

Less effective mitigation efforts

A look at other poor countries

What happens in India?

A look at the emerging countries

Let us summarize

Why the pandemic is milder in poor countries

Age distribution of selected geographic regions

Age structure as influencing factor

  • Africa: 41%
  • India: 28 %
  • Brazil: 25%
  • Italy and Germany: 13%

Young people as “dike wardens”

Pre-existing conditions

Another mystery — the example of Turkey

Other influences?

Could the infection patterns play a role?

What does this have to do with the children?

  • Firstly, children are much more often mildly ill and asymptomatically infected. For both conditions, it can be shown that lower viral loads are passed on. (This, by the way, is independent of whether infected children carry more, less or the same amount of viruses on their mucous membranes as infected adults. The viral load swabbed from mucous membrandes and measured in the laboratory unfortunately does not reflect the contagiousness of children in real life well at all. )
  • Secondly, the children lead back to the phenomenon described above: Infections that occur between family members in the household are generally milder than the infections picked up “out there”. This is probably due to the fact that where people have regular and intensive contact with each other, infections tend to occur at an early stage of the infection, i.e. at a time when the viral load transmitted is still comparatively low. And which age group is characterized by the closest and most regular contact with other family members? Exactly — the children, and especially the younger children. They live most strongly within defined, close contact networks, whether in the family or in the group of children. The probability that the transmissions from them occur at an early rather than symptomatic stage of the infection is therefore likely to be quite high.

Nothing new about the pandemic, really?

The duty to learn, and to learn fast


  1. This could also have something to do with the fact that out there in the wild the viruses are more likely to be passed on by sick, and often coughing, people (it is known that coughing and seriously ill people emit significantly higher quantities of virus than mildly ill or even asymptomatically infected people).



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dr. med. Herbert Renz-Polster

Dr. med. Herbert Renz-Polster

I am a physician researcher trained in pediatrics and public health, interested in child development and all things related to building a sustainable society.