Our Seattle friends are working from home, and have been in Germany to visit their aging mothers.

While in the small town of Auerbach, Bavaria, our friend tested positive for the coronavirus without any symptoms whatsoever. On Nov. 15, he was released from his two-week quarantine and is free to return to Seattle as soon as he can arrange flights for the family.

Germany is a densely populated country with 83 million people in an area about the size of the states of Oregon and Washington combined. Social and health services are universal and generous.

The leader of the Federal Republic of Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, is not asserting that the country has turned the corner on the pandemic. Rather, to stem the rampaging coronavirus infections, the German federal government's regulations trump all state and local efforts to halt the spread of the virus.

Quarantine violations can bring fines of up to 25,000 euros; infecting another person can bring criminal charges.

ERHARD GROSS

Astoria

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