Specter of Coronavirus Second Wave Haunts Europe as Cases Surge

As coronavirus cases in Europe approach nearly 3.9 million, fears of a second wave of the outbreak remains.

Earlier this week, average daily coronavirus cases in France and Spain reached their highest levels since April, while new cases in Italy were reported to have more than doubled over a three-week period.

Weekly totals of new cases across Europe have mostly increased from June, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Here we take a closer look at the recent rise in new cases across Spain, Italy and France.

Spain

  • Deaths per one million people: 615
  • Confirmed cases per one million people: 7,932
  • Total confirmed cases: 370,867

Source: Latest WHO report August 20

Daily new cases in Spain have been mostly increasing from around mid-June, when the country saw a 267.11 percent increase in new cases on June 17, when 279 new infections were reported, according to WHO.

Weekly totals of new infections rose consistently for eight weeks in a row, starting from the week commencing June 22, according to WHO.

The seven-day moving average of daily new cases in Spain has been rising on a sharper incline from early July to mid-August. I's latest average daily case count was reported to be 3,441, according to Worldometer.

Restrictions were implemented in several Spanish regions including Catalonia, where nightclubs were closed, in a bid to help curb the spread of infection. Mandatory face coverings were also imposed in several parts of the country.

A ban on smoking in public spaces when it is not possible to keep at least two meters (around 6.5 feet) from other people was also introduced in Spain

Italy

  • Deaths per one million people: 585
  • Confirmed cases per one million people: 4,222
  • Total confirmed cases: 255,278

Source: Latest WHO report August 20

The daily case count in Italy has been mostly rising from July 29, while weekly totals have been mostly rising from the week commencing June 22 to the week commencing August 10, which saw a 46.85 percent week-to-week rise in new infections, according to WHO.

The country's seven-day moving average of daily new cases has been mostly increasing from around July 1, with its latest average reported to be 555 on August 20, according to Worldometer.

Tighter regulations were also announced in Italy in a bid to minimize the risk of spreading infection.

From Monday, masks were required outdoors from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in areas near bars and where gatherings are more likely.

Nightclubs in Italy were closed from this Monday, after remaining open despite growing criticism that social distancing practices were not being maintained and masks were not being worn at the venues.

France

  • Deaths per one million people: 464
  • Confirmed cases per one million people: 3,236
  • Total confirmed cases: 211,225

Source: Latest WHO report August 20

Daily new infections in France have been mostly increasing in France from early July through August, while weekly totals of new cases have been rising consistently for seven weeks straight, starting from the week commencing June 29, according to WHO.

The seven-day moving average of daily new cases has been mostly rising from around July 10 through August. The average daily case count climbed to 2,921 on Thursday, according to Worldometer.

Stricter measures were also introduced in France amid rising new infections. Since July 21, wearing a face covering in closed public spaces has been mandatory. From August 10, those aged 11 and above in Paris have also been required to wear a mask in busy outdoor areas.

Over a hundred riot police officers were deployed in the Marseille region of southern France this week to enforce mask mandates, which are now being issued for outdoor areas in several parts of the country.

Trevi fountain Rome Italy August 2020
Tourists near the Trevi fountain in downtown Rome, Italy on August 19, 2020. Getty Images

Over 22.7 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus since it was first reported in Wuhan, China. Over 794,200 have died globally, while more than 14.5 million have reportedly recovered from infection, according to the latest report Friday by Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates a comparison of average new cases in the U.S. and the European Union.

COVID-19 cases EU vs. U.S.
The average number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and European Union. STATISTA