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COVID-19 Advisory: German Study ~ Mental Health ~ Virtual 5-K

April 10, 2020
To: All Employees
From: Pandemic Working Group
Re: COVID-19: German Study ~ Mental Health ~ Virtual 5-K

German COVID Study
Courtesy of our own Peter Eilers, we just learned of a study from the University Clinique of Bonn, Germany in which researchers focused on the town of Gangelt (population 12,500) which had been severely impacted by the coronavirus. Researchers contacted 1,000 households, from which it obtained throat swabs, blood samples and completed questionnaires from 500 residents. The idea here was to test a larger swath of the population to see how many people have been exposed to the virus. Researchers found that 15% of those tested had been infected (though not all showed symptoms). Interestingly, the mortality rate as compared to the number of people infected was only about 0.4%, which is one-fifth of the 2% mortality rate attributed to Germany by Johns Hopkins University. One might ask what accounts for the difference. In regions where testing is limited to those who present severe symptoms (as, for example, in the U.S.) the number of “new cases” tends to be understated – because there are many uncounted others who have mild or no symptoms – while the level of mortality tends to be overstated – because it is correlated only to those acute cases who were actually tested. Because test kits have been in short supply in most regions, one can safely assume that the reported mortality rate for COVID patients is likely overstated in many places. One other point of interest in the Bonn study is that 15% of those tested have built immunity against the virus and cannot be infected any longer. As the group of immune persons within a region grows, the spread of the disease tends to decrease; this is known as “herd immunity.” Thanks to Guido Ruetter for translating the report from German.

Mental Well-being

During the pandemic, it is imperative for all of us to be mindful of our mental well-being. Between working in new ways, adopting social protocols, adapting to changes at public places and being awash in a constant stream of news stories, we are more susceptible to mental and emotional strain. Among the resources that we offer AMVAC employees for helping to cope with mental health issues are direct contact with counselors, either by phone, email or through referral in your local area, through Guardian’s Employee Assistance Program at In addition, features sound advice on steps we can take to cope more effectively with emotions provoked by news about the pandemic, including: following CDC guidelines, taking a media break and prioritizing self-care. The Pandemic Working Group will be focusing on other resources in greater depth over the coming weeks.

Self-care Opportunities

And speaking of self-care, we will be featuring various activities being offered or recommended by AMVAC employees for coping with the pandemic and life in general. In this issue, we challenge you to Anne Turnbough’s “Virtual 5-K,” as more fully described below.



COVID-19 Advisory: German Study ~ Mental Health ~ Virtual 5-K