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How Demography Can Help to Better Understand the Pandemic

How Demography can Help to Better Understand the Pandemic Report Cover

Published in German

The new issue (No. 1/2021) of Demografische Forschung Aus Erster Hand, the popular science newsletter with the latest research results from demography, has been released.

"Demografische Forschung Aus Erster Hand" is a joint publication of the Max Planck Institute for demographic Research (MPIDR), the Rostocker Zentrum zur Erforschung des Demografischen Wandels (RZ), the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID), the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital and the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB).


The topics of the new issue are:

1. Varying death rates: Why did COVID-19 claim seven times more lives in Italy compared to South Korea?

(from Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research)

In Italy, around one in seven people suffering from COVID-19 died at the end of June 2020 compared to a good two percent of those infected in South Korea. These differences are largely explained by the age structure of people tested positive for COVID-19, but in some measure they also reflect healthcare systems that are overburdened.


2. Forecasts for intensive care units: How will patient demand for COVID-19 beds develop in Germany?

(from Federal Institute for Population Research)

The question of whether it makes sense to introduce new preventive measures or to relax existing ones hinges on current pandemic dynamics and on the number of intensive care beds available. A new preprint study presents a model to estimate the demand for ICU beds for different scenarios.


3. Swedish way or Chinese model?: Model calculations show: There is no such thing as an optimal lockdown strategy

(from Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital)

Protect the economy or keep infections to a minimum? Few topics are as controversial in times of pandemic as the type and length of the lockdown. A study by Viennese researchers now shows that different strategies can yield similar results and that there is often no clear optimum.


4. Does COVID-19 hit across social class?: Social factors play a role in SARS-CoV-2 infections

(from Rostocker Zentrum zur Erforschung des Demografischen Wandels)

First, well-off ski tourists and Catholic carnival-goers contracted the infection, then slaughterhouse and harvest workers often did so: The COVID-19 pandemic in Germany had not just regional but also social hotspots - and tended to hit the socially disadvantaged, a preprint study shows.