The average age of those infected is lower in Germany than in many other countries. Many of the early patients caught the virus in Austrian and Italian ski resorts and were relatively young and healthy, Professor Kräusslich said.

“It started as an epidemic of skiers,” he said.

As infections have spread, more older people have been hit and the death rate, only 0.2 percent two weeks ago, has risen, too. But the average age of contracting the disease remains relatively low, at 49. In France, it is 62.5 and in Italy 62, according to their latest national reports.

Another explanation for the low fatality rate is that Germany has been testing far more people than most nations. That means it catches more people with few or no symptoms, increasing the number of known cases, but not the number of fatalities.

“That automatically lowers the death rate on paper,” said Professor Kräusslich.