A graph published Wednesday by GZERO Media shows there is a stark difference between how the coronavirus pandemic is playing out in the U.S. and in Europe, an early hotspot for the virus.
As the data compiled by the global affairs company demonstrates, daily reports of new COVID-19 cases are trending upward in the U.S. while remaining relatively stagnant in countries within the European Union.
The graph was published the same day the U.S. reported more than 36,000 new COVID-19 cases, its largest single-day increase yet.
"While there are around 4,000 new COVID cases in the EU each day, the United States is now recording more than 30,000 new cases of the virus each day—eight times higher than Europe," the news outlet reported.
Data compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University show other countries that have, like the U.S., struggled to impose lockdowns and follow both facial covering and social distancing guidelines—such as Brazil, India and Mexico—also reported record numbers of new cases in June. In contrast, several European nations began reopening last month after declining case counts indicated the countries had gained control over the virus. Whether or not they'll be able to retain that control still remains to be seen, the World Health Organization said earlier this week.
According to population estimates by the E.U. and the U.S. Census Bureau, about 446 million people live in the E.U. and about 329.8 million people live in the U.S. While the U.S. has reported more than 2.3 million cases since the pandemic began, all 27 countries within the E.U. have reported roughly half that many cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
The debate over how leaders in the U.S. should handle the pandemic remained hotly contested as most states began lifting controversial lockdown restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus. Though some states that were initially hit hard by the pandemic recently began reporting steady declines in new cases—including New York, where the total case count was above 390,000 on Thursday—several others reported record increases in June despite the continued easing of restrictions.
The E.U. is considering a ban on travelers from the U.S. due to the country's lack of control over the virus, The New York Times reported earlier this week. After the pandemic devastated Italy and the United Kingdom, a former member of the E.U., the union was hesitant to allow Americans to travel freely in countries that had only recently reopened their borders, largely due to continued concerns over asymptomatic COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, state leaders in the U.S. were resistant to the idea of entering a new phase of lockdowns after initial stay-home orders led to the largest surge in American unemployment since World War II. Even so, liberal and conservative governors alike have introduced new guidelines for their citizens over the last week as new cases reached record highs. In California, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom required all residents to wear masks while outside their homes last week, and in Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott halted the state's reopening Thursday due to spiking case numbers and limited hospital bed availability.
Though most states have complied with federal guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year, all state and city leaders have designed their own responses to the pandemic based on how intense the outbreaks in their areas have been.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not respond to Newsweek's query in time for publication regarding whether new federal guidelines will be considered if case counts continue rising.
Despite the wide differences in the U.S. and E.U.'s responses to the pandemic, the battle against COVID-19 is far from over. As cases were on the rise in the U.S., the WHO warned European countries were also at risk of facing a resurgence in cases. According to the WHO, Europe last week saw an increase in new COVID-19 cases for the first time in months.
"For weeks I have spoken about the risk of resurgence as countries adjust measures," Hans Kluge, the regional director of the WHO's European office, said Thursday. "In several countries across Europe, this risk has now become a reality."