Angela Merkel

BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 11: German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a press conference, on March 11, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Felix Zahn/Photothek via Getty Images)Felix Zahn—Photothek/Getty Images
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Hardly a lame duck, Germany’s outgoing chancellor has won global praise for her calm, immediate, and effective response to the pandemic. Merkel, a trained scientist, imposed strict social distancing measures and modeled them herself, self-quarantining after her doctor tested positive for COVID-19. Those policies and Germany’s early, widespread testing have helped keep its death toll far lower than that of many of its European neighbors.