Practically all European nations have seen how, despite having reduced the levels of the spread of the virus after the confinement implemented between March and May, cases have skyrocketed as soon as normal activities have been resumed.
What is failing in Europe so that Covid-19 cases have skyrocketed again? In March, the so-called old continent experienced an unprecedented health crisis and was forced to close practically everything for about two months.
The silent advance of the virus across the continent during the weeks before confinement was reflected when public health systems that have been a global benchmark collapsed due to a large number of patients and the lack of equipment to care for them. In countries like Spain and Italy, there were cases of a selection of patients to be intubated, according to their age or conditions.
But, although it was shocking for the world to see the entire continent collapsed due to the health crisis, it was also an example to follow the method with which it was possible to reduce community contagion in just two months. The economy suffered, but the virus was practically reduced to residual cases in countries that had been overwhelmed.
The idea was to reopen the economy and resume daily activities with precautions. But just four months after everything began to reopen, infection rates are higher than the first wave, although the death rate is much lower than it was then.
It seemed unthinkable that the scenes of March and April would be repeated in Europe again because the population was theoretically more prepared and the governments more cautious, but hospitals are filling up again and some countries are giving very worrying alarm signals.
Curfew extensions in France and record cases
France is in a “serious” situation, as Prime Minister Jean Castex put it. With more than 41,000 cases in the last 24 hours, the record for daily infections was again broken and the country approached the barrier of one million cases.
The rate of positives is now 14.3% of the total tests carried out, six tenths more than the day before, added the Public Health Agency on its website, where it specified that there are 1,955 active sources of contagion, of which 201 were located on the last day.
The worsening pandemic has forced the Elysee to declare a curfew on 38 other French departments from midnight Friday to Saturday.
To this must be added that, in the last seven days, there have been 10,166 hospital admissions, of which 1,627 had to be transferred to intensive care units. Furthermore, of the 101 departments of the country, 91 are already in a situation of high vulnerability due to the rapid circulation of the virus.
The departments affected by the curfew are those with an incidence rate higher in the last seven days than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants among the general population and 100 among the elderly, as well as those where more than 30% of ICU beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.
In Spain local confinements are extended
The Pedro Sánchez government has been trying for weeks to avoid confining the country at a general level. Another closure would be an almost definitive blow to one of the economies most affected by the quarantine in the eurozone, due to its great dependence on tourism and restaurant and bar services.
The main epidemiological problem in the country continues to be in Madrid and, after weeks of a political dispute between the central Spanish and Madrid governments, the capital was one of the first places to have restrictions. However, the situation is already very complicated in other regions of the country, such as Navarra or Castilla y León.
The Ministry of Health notified this Thursday of 20,986 new cases of Covid-19, 7,953 in the last 24 hours, with which the total since the beginning of the pandemic is 1,026,281 infections and the deaths reach 34,521, after registering 155 more.
In the last 14 days, the accumulated Spanish incidence (cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has been 320.8, which has tripled in the Navarra region (1,058).
The Government and the Spanish regions agreed this Thursday on common measures of more severe prevention, according to several indicators of risk levels.
They agreed that, in the areas with the highest incidence of coronavirus cases, the opening of all non-essential establishments, such as bars, cafes, and shops, be limited until 11 p.m., as decided by the regions, and recommend leaving home “only for what necessary”.
Also, it has opted for the perimeter closure of large cities with a high contagion rate. In this country, there has also been talking of the possibility of declaring night curfews, as in France, although nothing has been specified so far.
In a country with such a tradition in social gatherings such as Spain, this has been the main problem. During the summer period, infections soared due to the internal displacement of the population. Official documents indicate that family reunions are the main causes of the spread of the disease.
The Czech Republic, the country with the most patients per capita
The panorama in this small European country is particularly striking, which in recent hours has registered a record of almost 15,000 infections. The health collapse is feared by the Prague authorities since in the last week the number of cases shot up by 57%.
With 1,066 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks, the Czech Republic is the country in the European Union with the most patients per capita. This triples the data for Spain or the United Kingdom. Currently, the number of active infections is 124,000, of which about 4,400 are hospitalized, four times more than at the beginning of October.
Given the situation, the authorities have ordered the Czech Army to build a hospital in a congress center in Prague, with a capacity of 500 beds. This facility will come into operation if the worst predictions of the pandemic are fulfilled and the hospital system collapses, something that the Minister of Health, Roman Prymula, fears could happen the second week of November.
On October 22, a new mobility restriction came into force, which the Government insists is not confinement, and in which it is only allowed to leave home to go to work, to the doctor, to do the shopping, although it is still allowed to go for walks in the field.
Gatherings of more than two people on the street have also been prohibited. All shops, except food and pharmacies, will be closed until November 3.
Germany, the example of pandemic control, also records a record
Infections soared in Germany to a new high of 11,287 in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of virology updated last midnight. The 7,830 new cases registered last Saturday had already reached a maximum for the third consecutive day since the start of the pandemic.
Despite this, this country, which is the most populated in Europe, has far less alarming results than its neighbors. The health alert in Germany begins with 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, much lower data than those handled in other places.
Still, the difference compared to the beginning of the month is significant. In the last two weeks, infections have tripled, going from between 1,000 to 4,000 a day to more than 10,000.
The authorities reject that Europe is experiencing a worse situation than that of March or April because records of daily infections are broken. They indicate that, when the pandemic began on the continent, there were hardly any traces of the disease and tests. There is the explanation that now there are fewer deaths with more infections.
In addition to these countries, during this day there have been records of infections in Italy, Belgium, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Portugal. A black day that shows that the disease has been distributed equitably among the citizens of the continent once the economies are open and that puts other areas of the planet that are in their opening processes on alert, such as Latin America.