Here’s what Germans think about Joe Biden becoming US President

Germans have previously said that outgoing US President Donald Trump is their greatest source of angst. So what exactly do they think about Joe Biden's win and his plans?

Here's what Germans think about Joe Biden becoming US President
US President-elect Joe Biden when he was US Vice President, and Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2013. Photo: DPA

There's an overwhelmingly positive view from the Bundesrepublik: nine out of ten Germans (89 percent) think it is “very good” or “good” that Biden won the recent US election.

In fact, only seven percent of those surveyed in the ARD Deutschlandtrend representative poll rate the election result as “not so good” or “bad”.

And a massive 80 percent of respondents to the representative survey believe that German-American relations will improve with Biden when he takes over as US President early next year.

It's a huge contrast to how Germans felt after the election of Donald Trump in 2016: at that time, 57 percent expected German-American relations to deteriorate.

A recent poll showed the worry is still strong. Trump took the top spot this year as the greatest source of German fear for the second time since 2018 in the survey conducted by insurance firm R+V. A total of 53 percent said they believe his policies make the world a more dangerous place.

READ ALSO: Germans 'more worried about Trump than coronavirus'


What do Germans think about Biden's proposals?

Biden's initial plan for the period after he comes office is also supported among Germans, according to the ARD survey.

These include the USA returning to the World Health Organisation and re-entering into the Paris Climate Agreement – something that 9 out of 10 Germans support.

Respondents also expect improvements for the domestic situation in the US: 90 percent support Biden's desire to develop an action plan as quickly as possible to control the coronavirus pandemic in the states.

READ ALSO: 'The world may respect us more': How Americans in Germany reacted to US elections

Unclear if Biden can make changes

A total of 85 percent of Germans believe that the USA will develop positively overall under Biden.

However, they also see possible limits to his actions: whether Biden can actually initiate major reforms also depends on what the majority balance in Congress will be like in the future. And whether the Democrats will be in the minority in the Senate or whether they will take control.

That will be decided in the January runoff election in the state of Georgia. There, two seats for the Senate are still at stake. If the Democrats are able to win them, they could be able to take control of the Senate.

But that is not yet the case – and currently 71 percent of Germans think that Biden will not achieve many of his goals because he is dependent on cooperation with the Republicans.

On another important issue – the reconciliation of the nation – Germans are cautiously optimistic: 56 percent trust Biden to overcome the divisions in US society.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week congratulated Biden on his election win. She said Germany would stand with the US to tackle global problems.

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Will Spain have a sixth coronavirus wave?

While Covid infections are rising across Europe, Spain has managed to keep cases and hospitalisations low so far this autumn. But there are already signs things may be changing. 

people walk without masks on ramblas barcelona during covid times
Spain’s epidemiological situation is the most favourable in the EU and a sixth wave but will there be a sixth wave? Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP

Coronavirus cases have been rising quickly across Europe since October but not so in Spain, which has maintained one of the lowest infection, hospitalisation and death rates on the continent. 

According to prestigious medical publication The Lancet, Spain could well be on the verge of reaching herd immunity, a statement the country’s Health Minister tends to agree with.  

READ ALSO: Has Spain almost reached herd immunity?

Add the favourable epidemiological indicators to the almost 80 percent rate of full vaccination of Spain’s entire population and the immunity claim doesn’t seem so far-fetched. 

But if there’s one thing this pandemic has taught governments around the world – or should have – is to not assume Covid-19 can be eradicated after a few encouraging weeks. 

Not that Spain is letting down its guard, the general public continues to take mask wearing in indoor spaces seriously (outdoors as well even though not required in many situations) and there are still some regional restrictions in place. 

READ MORE: What Covid-19 restrictions are in place in Spain’s regions in November?

And yet, Covid infections are on the rise again, although not at the pace seen during previous waves of the virus. 

On Thursday November 4th Spain re-entered the Health Ministry’s “medium risk” category after the national fortnightly infection rate surpassed 50 cases per 100,000 people.

From Friday 5th to Monday 8th, it climbed five more points up to 58 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. 

It’s the biggest rise since last July but this shouldn’t be cause for alarm, especially as hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths all remain low and steady.

A closer look at the stats shows that 1.52 percent of hospital beds across the country are currently occupied by Covid patients, 4.41 percent in the case of ICU beds. 

Daily Covid deaths in October were under 20 a day, the lowest rate since August 2020. 

With all this in mind, is a sixth wave of the coronavirus in Spain at all likely?

According to a study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Spain will have a sixth wave.

The Seattle-based research group predicts an increase in infections in Spain from the second half of November, which will skyrocket in December reaching the highest peak towards the end of the year. 

The country would reportedly need about 24,000 beds for Covid patients (4,550 for critical ones) and there would be almost 2,000 deaths. 

Increased social interactions would mean that on December 30th alone, daily Covid infections in Spain could reach 92,000, the study claims. 

If restrictions were tightened ahead of the holiday period, including the use of face masks, the sixth wave’s peak wouldn’t be as great, IHME states

It’s worth noting that the IHME wrongly predicted that Spain wouldn’t be affected by a fifth wave whereas it ended up causing more than a million infections and 5,000 deaths. 

two elderly women in san sebastian during covid times
The vaccination rate among over 70s in Spain is almost 100 percent. Photo: Ander Guillenea/AFP

The latest message from Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias is that currently “the virus is cornered” in the country, whilst admitting that there was a slight rise in cases. 

“I do not know if there will be a sixth wave, but first we must remember that immunisation is not complete in all patients despite vaccinations,” Dr. José Polo , president of the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (Semergen), told El Periódico de España

“That’s because 100 percent effectiveness doesn’t exist in any drug, or in any medicine”.

Despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, Spain still has around 4.2 million eligible people who haven’t been vaccinated, mostly people aged 20 to 40. 

The majority of Covid hospitalisations across Spain are patients who have not been vaccinated: 90 percent in the Basque Country, 70 percent in Catalonia and 60 percent in Andalusia.

Among Covid ICU patients, 90 percent of people in critical condition across all regions are unvaccinated. 

“Although there are many people vaccinated in Spain, there will be an increase in cases because we know how the virus is transmitted and when the cold comes and the evenings are darker we will tend to go indoors, and the virus spreads there,” Cesar Carballo, Vice President of the Spanish Society of Emergency Medicine of Madrid, told La Sexta news.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already warned that Europe is at a  “critical point of regrowth”  and that it has once again become the “epicentre”  of the pandemic, due to the generalised spike in cases in recent weeks.

Does that mean that Spain’s daily infections won’t be in the thousands again as winter nears? Or that regional governments won’t reintroduce Covid measures ahead of Christmas to prevent this from happening?

Nothing is for certain, but as things stand Spain’s epidemiological situation is the most favourable in the EU and a sixth wave seems unlikely, but not impossible.

The Spanish government continues to push ahead with its vaccination campaign, reopening its vaccination centres, administering booster shots to its most vulnerable and considering vaccinating under 12s to meet an immunity target of 90 percent.