On Saturday, reports started to surface that Thomas Schaefer, a top German finance official, had died by suicide.
Now, Fox News is reporting that his death may have had to do with his fears regarding his country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the details of Schaefer’s death surfaced, they were anything but pleasant. A body was found on the tracks of a high-speed train in Hochheim, which is a small town outside of Frankfurt. When paramedics first arrived, they could not identify the disfigured body.
However, after the police did their investigation, it was discovered the body was, in fact, Schaeffer. Police also stated they believe that Schaefer, who was only 54 years old, had killed himself, Fox reported.
This claim was backed up by one of the longtime official’s colleagues, who said that Schaefer was deeply concerned about “whether it would be possible to succeed in fulfilling the population’s huge expectations, particularly of financial help.”
State governor Volker Bouffier said after the news broke: “I have to assume that these worries overwhelmed him.
“He apparently couldn’t find a way out. He was in despair and left us,” Bouffier concluded.
Schaefer served as the Hesse state finance minister for the last decade.
Fears about the German response
While Germany currently has about 60,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, there have only been about 500 deaths attributed to the virus at this point in the country. Still, the country has enacted stringent social distancing rules, banning any gatherings of more than two individuals.
Much like the United States, the German government has put together a relief package for citizens estimated to be about $814 billion.
However, Reuters reported on Monday, “The coronavirus outbreak has made a recession in Europe’s largest economy inevitable in the first half of this year, Germany’s council of economic advisers said on Monday, predicting that output could shrink by up to 5.4% this year.”
Only time will tell how long the effects of this pandemic — economic and otherwise — will be felt in Europe and around the world.