How bad is the situation in Europe? New wave of COVID-19 attacks young people
Europe went from six to seven million infections in just ten days, reaching new records this week, exceeding 120,000 cases in a single day
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned this Thursday of an “exponential growth” of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. This situation causes “concern” in the region, although the virus currently causes fewer deaths than in the first wave.
The international entity reminds the millions of Europeans every day that they must live again under strict distancing measures. All this while governments fight a second wave that scientists have been warning about for months.
One of the most affected countries is France, which registers a large increase in new positive cases. On Thursday, October 15, they confirmed 30,621 infections, compared to 22,591 the day before, reported the BBC Mundo agency. This Monday, the 19th, the Ministry of Health reported 13,243 new cases and with it the country exceeded 900,000 infections.
For this reason, the Government decided to impose a night curfew in Paris and in eight other cities, which became effective on Saturday, October 17.
That same day, in the UK, socializing indoors was banned in London. It turns out that this city and other areas of England are now under a higher COVID-19 alert.
Similarly, countries such as Italy, Poland, Hungary and Germany also recorded their largest daily increase in new cases since mass testing began. In the Czech Republic, which currently has the highest infection rate in Europe, infections almost doubled in October, exceeding 140,000.
In the case of Russia, it registered its highest number of daily deaths in one day since the start of the pandemic: 286 people, according to official data.
The WHO urged European governments to “step up” and act, as the continent passes the threshold of 1,000 deaths a day. In addition, it reaffirmed that the strict restrictions are “absolutely necessary” to save lives.
What happens in France?
French President Emmanuel Macron announced days ago new restrictions to combat the growing rate of contagion in the country. He announced that his objective is to reduce the daily increase in cases to 3,000, reported BBC Mundo.
Residents of Paris, its suburbs and eight other cities, including Marseille and Lyon, cannot leave their homes without a “valid” reason. This happens between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., for at least four weeks.
For his part, Prime Minister Jean Castex reported that the police were deployed to enforce the curfew. However, he stressed that the population can still go to work, to hospitals and pharmacies.
At the same time, this week the French police raided the houses of high officials of the Government and the Health sector. It is all part of an investigation into its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. For months, the government has faced criticism for the shortage of equipment and the slow response times.
How bad is the situation in Europe?
WHO European Director Hans Kluge made statements to the press. He reported that in this period the number of deaths from COVID-19 is currently five times lower than in March and April, when the first wave hit the continent.
Why is this happening? It turns out that one of the reasons for the increase in cases in recent weeks is that more young people are testing positive for the virus. So the lower death rate is because that demographic is less likely to die than older adults.
Despite the low indicator, Kluge said that projections for the course of the disease in Europe “are not optimistic”. Therefore, he warned that if European governments relax their restrictions, the course of the virus indicates that by January 2021 the daily death rate could be four to five times higher than in April.
On the other hand, if 95% of people wear masks and other social distancing measures are applied, Europe could avoid up to 281,000 deaths by February, according to statements collected by BBC Mundo.
Meanwhile, the European Commission asked governments to intensify restriction measures and screening tests campaigns. Likewise, it recommended that they coordinate the tracking of possible positive cases and the eventual deployment of vaccines.
An example of goodwill was given by the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who left a European Union summit to go into self-isolation. She did it after a member of her office tested positive, although she came out negative on the test that was done. However, she decided to isolate herself “as a precautionary measure”.
New restrictions imposed in Europe
In Poland, red zones were defined where schools and gymnasiums will close, including the capital Warsaw.
In the Campania region of southern Italy, including Naples, schools will close for two weeks. This is because the country recorded its largest daily increase in cases since mass testing began.
Schools and bars closed in the Czech Republic, but infections continue to rise. The Government announced the construction of the first field hospital for patients with coronavirus. It also asked doctors working abroad to return home.
In Germany, bars and restaurants in higher risk areas must close early. The country registered 6,638 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily number since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Portugal, the government limited meetings to five people. However, weddings and christenings can be attended by up to 50 people, while university parties are prohibited.
In the Catalonia region, restaurants may only serve takeout. Gymnasiums and cultural spaces will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Meanwhile, stores and large shopping centers are limited to 30% of their capacity.
In the Netherlands, bars, restaurants and cafes closed on October 14, except for take out. In addition, in the hostels the maximum number of guests, per day, was three people.
In the Russian capital, Moscow, movement is limited and as of Monday, October 19, schools (for children between 13 and 18 years old) will be closed.
Has the dark phase of the pandemic arrived?
Faced with the harsh European reality, Hans Kluge assured that the increase in cases in several countries does not mean the beginning of the so-called “dark phase” in the epidemiological curve. He even dared to affirm that there is still time to act.
“The virus has not changed, it is neither more nor less dangerous” than when the largest increases in cases were recorded last March, said Kluge. But, he did point out that the situation now is different from the one experienced in spring, due to young infections in Europe.
For all these reasons, he recommended “a phased increase in specific and temporary measures, trying to minimize collateral damage to the economy and society”.
And in this context, he reminded governments that the measures they take must take into account collateral effects, to prevent the recurrence of mental health problems or domestic violence.
“The message to governments is that concrete measures must be taken to avoid having to go through the painful spring road again”, he said. At the same time, he recalled that transmission and sources of contagion are in homes and in closed public places.
Europe went from six to seven million infections in just ten days, reaching new records this week, exceeding 120,000 cases in a single day, on October 9 and 10.
Finally, the director of the WHO in Europe questioned the generalization of the belief that the solution to the pandemic is in a vaccine. “We do not even know if the vaccine will be effective for all sectors of the population” and, furthermore, “ordering different vaccines will be a logistical nightmare”.
“The end of this pandemic will be the moment when, as a community, we have learned to live with it. And that depends on us “, concluded Kluge, in statements collected by Telesur.
You must read now…
Jennifer Pan: the ‘model daughter’ who planned the death of her parents
When she complete 25 years in prison, that is, in 2039, she may request the procedural benefit of parole. If this…