A second wave of covid-19 sends much of Europe back into lockdown

Even the Germans and Nordics cannot be complacent

10/24/2020 1:22:00 PM

Most European countries failed to use the summer respite to build robust testing, tracing and isolation operations

Even the Germans and Nordics cannot be complacent

OR A FEWmonths this summer it was almost possible for Europeans to believe that life had returned to normal. Parisian museums and Barcelona’s cafés were open, if less crowded. Germans, Dutch and Danes jetted off to holidays on Mediterranean beaches. In August and September, as children across the continent returned to school, covid-19 infections began to rise. Yet governments, worried about a backlash, chose not to reintroduce harsh social-distancing measures.

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Their decision has had a price. A second wave of covid-19 is now washing over Europe. In many countries the daily numbers of confirmed cases exceed their spring peaks, though this is mostly because there is a lot more testing; death rates are substantially lower. A model developed by

The Economist, based on serological tests showing how many people have been exposed to the virus, suggests the second wave has yet to match the first (see chart), though numbers are clearly rising, as are hospitalisations. Most countries failed to use the summer to build robust testing and tracing operations. Now they are falling back on blunt measures: shutting restaurants and introducing quarantines and curfews.

Spain is among the hardest-hit countries. That is partly because its left-wing minority government and the conservative opposition have failed to agree on a national strategy. Only some regions have set up effective test-trace-isolate systems, and rates of infection vary wildly. Madrid is under a 15-day state of emergency that bars non-essential movement in or out of the city, limits social gatherings to six people and closes restaurants at 11pm. Catalonia and Navarre have been even tougher.

France is in just as bad a pickle. The share of tests that come back positive has climbed from 4.6% on August 31st to 13%. On October 17th the government imposed a curfew on nine big cities from 9pm to 6am. Arnaud Fontanet, an epidemiologist at the Institut Pasteur, says the country must reduce new infections to 3,000 a day before it can get the epidemic under control; they are currently at around 28,000.

When covid-19 first arrived, northern Europeans snidely linked its virulence in Italy and Spain to their physically effusive cultures. That idea is harder to sustain this time: among the hardest-hit countries are Belgium and the Netherlands. “We are really very close to a tsunami. We no longer control what is happening,” warns Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgium’s health minister. The government has closed restaurants and bars and brought in a curfew from midnight until 5am. The virus is also exacerbating regional divisions. Flemish nationalists resent the national lockdown, since transmission rates are higher in French-speaking regions.

In the Netherlands the government dithered while daily cases per million rose steadily. They are now higher than in Spain or France. This month the government at last closed restaurants for four weeks and required masks in public indoor spaces. But when Mark Rutte, the prime minister, apologised last week, it was only for letting the royal family take an autumn holiday in Greece. (They cut it short.)

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In south-eastern Europe and the Balkans, which tamed the virus effectively this spring with harsh lockdowns, there has been little appetite to reintroduce restrictions. Serbia’s prime minister, Ana Brnabic, vowed to “act differently” if the virus resurged, yet is taking little action now that it has. But Bulgaria, where hospitals are complaining of a shortage of doctors, has now made mask-wearing compulsory. So has Bucharest, the capital of Romania, where schools have been told to move to online learning and cinemas and theatres have been closed.

One step theEUdid take this month was to settle on a Europe-wide map of regional epidemic severity, after a disagreement over the colours. Almost every province in Europe shows up red (a high rate of the virus). But one can easily discern the outlines of the success stories: Germany, Italy and the Nordics, which are mostly yellow (medium) with patches of green (low). Italy may not stay a success for long. It drove transmission rates down with aggressive lockdowns in the spring, but new cases are rising fast. On October 18th it implemented new restrictions. But they were surprisingly lax, thanks to intra-coalition rows.

Germany and the Nordics remain Europe’s star performers, though there are difficulties. Germany has the continent’s best track-and-trace systems, but in parts of Berlin there are now too many cases to follow. Hard-hit areas are imposing early closing-times for restaurants and requiring more mask-wearing. However, Germany’s federal system is causing fragmentation and disagreement. Angela Merkel, the chancellor, fears that going too slowly now could force more drastic restrictions later. That would erode the civic will needed to fight the virus. Where Europeans once embraced that battle with a spirit of shared sacrifice, many now grumble that their governments are blowing it.

■Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of Read more: The Economist »

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Embargo their infected Livestock Meat Exports they did it to themselves. And we are still in first wave in india Laurie_Garrett Sad DidierPittet Certes, mais aujourd'hui le déni de situation et le refus des populations est très fort alors que les points de situation sont éloquents, alors en été ! Imaginez ... on ne soigne pas sans l aval du patient

Guess they didn’t do so much better than the United States after all ..... hm. Stay safe guys normundsbergs Šim laikam jāpiekrīt JUST LIKE (US)...🙏 tRumpf and GOP enablers Laurie_Garrett Most likely is that EU follows the same “individualistic” mindset as the U.S. let’s not listen to science, respect others by wearing masks, avoiding contact. Gotta be able to go to my bars & have a drink

World leadership is nonexistant now that the US as abdicated the position. Coming to s US state near you soon! Thanks dipshits, all you had to do was where a GD mask 6% This is terrible news indeed. How will those in the entertainment/ tourism industry survive this? Even more small businesses won't make I'm afraid.

Lies! The did *not fail. They sold their souls for money. Now, they pay the price. Weak and stupid like Trump They spent it fellating themselves dry that they could pity Americans. Take a look at COVI-TRACK by SORRENTO PHARMACEUTICALS. what if the solution exist and need to be tested for corona where shall submit the proposal as no hackathon since april all stopped strange

Misinformation and science denial is the real plague. Perhaps, the expectation was that the vaccine doses would be teady by Fall ! Protect the vulnerable and allow the rest to carry on. Will some die? Probably. People do that, they die. Testing positive does not equal death. Agree. Look to Asia, not EU:US. Japan (126.5million) has twice the population of the UK (66.7mm). Daily new cases: Japan 614 vs UK 20,318. South Korea with 52mm ppl: 77 new cases. Sweden with 10mm ppl: 1,500 now considering local lockdowns. COVID19 coviduk

So the British Gov't isn't the only one to fall behind with sensible and necessary Test and Trace isolation operations? Hindsight is a wonderful virtue - investigate and report what Europe should do next and let’s see if your findings prove right. but top 1% still increased their wealth by at least 40% , right ? thank god ! who cares about the other 99%. How much money has EU pumped in stock markets feeding those vampires ? 5trillion ? 10 trillion ?

Plagues come in waves. Lessons from the history of epidemiology. Europe should know. The worst is to come. The Big Cope So called democracy is anti-science and anti-wit. Thats the future of Europe, because fools stay here. Cut the crap, Bolshevik! I would say that it is the single biggest failure of public policy since the last momentous failure. The last failure used to be, uncontentiously, Suez over 60 years ago. Now you can only go back 6 months at most so we have stopped using the phrase at all.

One word: procrestination Have you audited your staff for mole infiltration? Call out the C19 scare as election year propaganda. This is a disgrace. 95% of positives are asymptomantic ... is it correct to chase them all? Because it is bullshit. They hoped everything will pass and now they can’t handle it... Surprise?!

A robust testing infrastructure takes more time to build than a summer. South Korea spent 2 years to redesign its testing infrastructure. During a pandemic is not the ideal time. It's after the last pandemic that it should have happened. Which ones? Mine didn't..

Germans Are Panic Buying Toilet Paper And Disinfectants As Covid-19 Surges AgainSales of toilet paper surged 89.9% last week compared to pre-crisis levels, Germany’s statistics office said. Alemania se parece un poquito a Peru Hahaha what is the problem with people and toilet paper?

As COVID-19 cases spike, pneumonia vaccine demand rockets and Europe runs lowAs COVID-19 infections rise, people seeking to avoid one lung disease compounding another are queuing up to get inoculated against bacterial pneumonia, causing shortages of a Merck & Co vaccine in parts of Europe. BREAKING: WASHINGTON (AP) - FDA approves remdesivir, the first drug for treating COVID-19. I'm so glad I got mine three years ago.

Parts Of Idaho Repeal Mask Mandates Even Though Hospitals Full Of COVID-19 PatientsDoctors and nurses in Idaho have asked officials for help, only to be met with reluctance or even open skepticism. Are these the white supremacist areas of Idaho? Good. I live in Idaho and when I dare to go grocery shopping, most people do not wear masks. The stores do not enforce mask wearing. I have stocked up and don't plan on going out for anything in the next 60 days or more. People in Idaho still think its a hoax. All of this insanity (reopening in full, anti-maskers, etc) a direct result of pushing that 'all opinions matter' and 'alternate facts are valid.' The GOP orchestrated this mindset for decades. This is not an accident.

As Covid-19 Sweeps Europe, One Country Tries to Test the Entire PopulationWith a second wave of coronavirus infections sweeping through Europe, one of the continent’s smallest countries is attempting a big response: Slovakia will try to test every adult over the next two weeks. Today a trial of 4 cities, next week the whole country... ....and what are we doing again? For what purpose?

Masks could cut Covid-19 deaths in the US by 130,000: studyEven if state-level governments in the United States reimpose limited social distancing measures to halt the spread of Covid-19, the death toll could more than double by the end of February 2021 to 511,000, according to projections released Friday. Please vote and WearAMask and make it ours. Retweet and share. Sharing is caring Not true... there is mask mandated in EVERY state and it still is not working... Yahoo Study... deez nuts !

'Please stay home:' COVID-19 tightens grip on U.S. MidwestSix U.S. states reported record day-over-day increases in COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, according to a Reuters analysis, as infections rose across the Midwest and elsewhere, prompting new clampdowns on residents, schools and businesses. Why European assembly silent for 30 yrs?UN had declared resolution where Karabakh is recognized as the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.But no one contributed to execute of these obligations TheAngriestCountry StopArmenianAgression ArmeniaEndTheOccupation ArmenianTerror You believe R state numbers? Don't be a dumb ass. Florida numbers have been criminal this whole time!