BERLIN — Derided by many economists for years for insisting on a balanced budget and criticized for a health care system seen as bloated and overly expensive, Germany has found itself well equipped now to weather the coronavirus pandemic. Already applauded for early actions such as social-distancing regulations and aggressive testing seen as helping keep the death toll comparatively low, Europe’s largest economy has had the financial flexibility to launch a massive rescue plan to help businesses and keep workers paid. As the country moves to relax some restrictions this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel is pointing to the example of South Korea, which relied on its experience fighting a different coronavirus five years ago to combat COVID-19, as the way forward. Meantime in the U.S., some protesters have taken to the streets — supported by President Donald Trump’s tweets — to demand an end to virus-related shutdowns to help the faltering economy, which has caused tens of millions to lose their jobs, even if it could lead to an increase in deaths as the health care system struggles. “This is a crisis which, on the one hand, has probably hit the U.S. where it is most vulnerable, namely health care,”


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