News and Commentary

European Union COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket, Europe Now Leads World In Active Infections
A waiter serves customers eating and drinking on the terrace area outside Cafe de Paris, ahead of the enforcement of new Covid-19 restrictions which will see bars and restaurants closing early, in Paris, France, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. President Emmanuel Macrons government is seeking to ease tension after the first significant tightening of restrictions on French daily life since the end of the lockdown in May. Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in the European Union, and Europe has now pulled well ahead of the United States in new and active cases of COVID-19, with major hotspots cropping up in France, Germany, and even the United Kingdom.

“Much of Europe is now seeing a major coronavirus surge, to the point that the European Union countries (with 28 countries and roughly 100 million more people than the U.S.) has surpassed America — which is also seeing its own sharp spike — in current cases overall,” New York Magazine reports.

“France and Germany reported record daily coronavirus cases on Saturday, as new restrictions went into effect in several European countries in an effort to slow the second wave of infection,” EU News adds.

Reuters notes that there appears to be a “global” surge, with the number of cases, worldwide, rising by a record 400,000 on Friday — the single largest one-day rise since the global coronavirus pandemic began. Europe, itself, is averaging around 140,000 new cases of the virus today, contributing markedly to the global total.

“Of every 100 infections reported around the world, 34 were from European countries,” Reuters reports. “The region is currently reporting a million new infections about every nine days and has reported more than 6.3 million cases since the pandemic began.”

“Major European countries – United Kingdom, France, Russia, Netherlands, and Spain — accounted for about half of Europe’s new cases in the week to Oct. 18,” the outlet adds. “France is reporting the highest seven-day average of new cases in Europe with 19,425 infections per day followed by the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, and the Netherlands in worst affected European countries.”

Both Reuters and the BBC note that European nations are not expected to adopt the kind of strict lockdown measures that stalled the spread of the virus in the spring, with governments warning that, while serious measures are needed to control the pandemic, EU residents simply will not accept a second round of restrictions.

Instead, France is enforcing a strict 9 pm curfew across Paris and several other cities marked as “hotspots,” and Italian officials are meeting on Sunday to discuss a halt to “non-essential services” like elective surgeries and sporting events. In Spain, authorities are enforcing a tw0-week suspension on service in bars and restaurants.

Germany is limiting “private gatherings to 15 attendees and a curfew for bars and restaurants from 11 p.m. in areas with a weekly rate of more than 35 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants,” per POLITICO. If the rate of cases goes up, Germany’s officials say, they will add further restrictions.

“In Britain, a three-tier regional approach to battle the pandemic introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson went into effect, with each level bringing progressively tighter restrictions,” EuroNews reports. “On Saturday, tier-2 cities like London and York were subject to a ban on socializing with people from other households indoors, while the county of Lancashire joined Liverpool in tier-3 with the tightest restrictions.”

Although cases are on the increase in the United States, the rate of increase is still just 5% according to Johns Hopkins. Experts are warning, however, that as the U.S. enters that typical “flu season,” and many activities move indoors because of inclement weather, Americans could be staring down a “third wave” of the virus.

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