- Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly re-emerging, leading to a flood of new lockdowns like those seen in the spring.
- In the last ten days, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden have reported new records of daily infections.
- France and Germany announced second national lockdowns on Wednesday, with Italy, Spain and the UK also introducing new measures over the past two weeks.
- The United States is also reporting a record number of new cases, although President Donald Trump’s government claims the pandemic is over. Several states have introduced or warned of new measures.
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The initial outbreak that hit Western Europe in March and April had subsided in the summer, but when autumn arrived, another wave of infections has it as well.
The United States, which hit the peak of its first outbreak a little later than Europe, is also struggling under the weight of a wave of new infections.
‘This year’s Christmas will be another Christmas’
Over the past 14 days, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden – which had chosen to lock down during the pandemic – reported a record number of new daily infections.
Last Sunday, Italy reported a new high of 21,273 daily new coronavirus cases, while in France a record 52,010 people tested positive. On Thursday, a record 16,744 people tested positive in Germany. And on Wednesday, Sweden registered a new peak of 1,980 new COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, the United States logged up to 83,000 new daily cases on Friday.
Here is what European countries have done – and perhaps still do – to prevent their outbreaks from spreading further:
- France: On Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron said the country would “brutally slow down” from Friday. Social gatherings were banned, restaurants and bars were forced to close, and citizens were only allowed to leave home for necessary work or medical treatment. “The virus is circulating at a rate that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had expected,” he said.
- Germany: On Wednesday, the country announced a lockdown from November 2 to November 30. Restaurants and bars can only serve as takeaway; theaters, gyms, pools and cinemas close; and a maximum of ten people from two households can meet. Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany’s healthcare system “can still handle” the current cases, but said that “with this rate of infections it will reach the limits of its capacity within a few weeks.”
- Italy: On Monday, the country told gyms, pools, cinemas and theaters about closing until Nov. 24, saying bars and restaurants should close at 6 p.m. 18 as a result, violent protests celebrated through Italy earlier this week.
- UK: The United Kingdom has not yet reintroduced a nationwide lockdown, but launched a three-level warning system on 12 October. However, researchers and experts warn that this is not enough and that a lockdown across the UK is imperative. Wales, which is part of the United Kingdom, launched its own two-week “fire” lock-in on Friday.
- Sweden: The country has chosen to lock down the entire pandemic and has never introduced a national shutdown. But in light of the new cases, some major cities – such as Malmö and Uppsala – urged residents not to socialize and avoid crowded places.
- Belgium: On October 20, 18,000 new cases were registered. A Belgian official told Reuters that the government had to decide whether to introduce a new lockdown before the weekend.
“We are deep in the second wave,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
“I think this year’s Christmas will be another Christmas.”
Cases rising in 47 states
In the United States, the Donald Trump administration claims it has beaten the pandemic, even as the country enters its third wave and logs a record number of new cases.
Experts have warned that the United States’ third coronavirus rise could be the deadliest.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s largest epidemiologist, told CNBC on Wednesday: “If things do not change … there will be a lot of pain in this country in terms of further cases and hospitalizations and deaths.”
The number of new daily cases is rising in 47 states, CNBC said.
The U.S. federal government did not impose a national shutdown early in the pandemic, but many states, such as California and New York, undertook to enforce strict measures.
And in recent days, several U.S. states have begun imposing or threatening to impose new restrictions.
JB Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, on Tuesday banned eating and drinking inside bars and restaurants in Chicago.
Gina Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, told the AP that her state may have to bring restraint measures back if things get worse.
“We are in a bad place. These data are not encouraging. They are heading in the wrong direction in every measurement,” she said.
Hospitals across the United States also warn that they will not have adequate supply levels or people who have the power to care for patients during the wave.