Monday, October 19

Why the terrible second wave of Europe may be the third of Spain soon

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It cannot be said that the situation was controlled in Europe throughout the summer but it can be said that it seemed. Faced with the Spanish and French anomaly, the rest of the continent was moving in reasonable figures: as late as September 25, the only countries that exceeded the alert bar of 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants every two weeks, apart from those mentioned They were Belgium and the Netherlands, with 134 and 127 cases respectively.

In both countries, the taking measures despite the fact that its incidence was half of the Spanish: On September 28, the Dutch government established the mandatory closure of bars and restaurants at 10 p.m., threatened companies that did not encourage teleworking with fines and closures, and limited the number of guests one can have in their home to three House.

Belgium followed a bit later. On October 6, seeing that the situation did not improve (rather the opposite, as we will see right now), Belgium made similar decisions: recommendation teleworking (to avoid travel by public transport), meetings of a maximum of four people and closure of the hotel business at 23.00.

Evolution of cases in Belgium

That same week, France announced the closing of bars and restaurants in Paris and the state of alarm throughout the country. Marseille had already been under major restrictions for a week.

Germany limited to ten the maximum number of people that could be gathered for any activity and the Czech Republic, already by then the great European focus of the pandemic, declared the state of alarm.

Remember that Italy has never raised it since February. For its part, in Portugal, the “state of calamity” was made official and the number of people who could meet in public was limited to five, in addition to limiting the hours of bars and restaurants.

Of the United Kingdom, little can be said. Its measures are rarely national but depend on the different regions. Boris Johnson has stated several times that he wants to avoid another total confinement at all costs and for now three phases of restrictions have been applied, the hardest of which affects Liverpool, which has seen all its hospitality closed.

Which has it been the result of these partial restrictions? At the moment, scarce, although it is true that it takes time to assess them fairly. If we look at the daily average of cases that are reported every seven days, we observe that, since October 5, France, the United Kingdom and Portugal have practically doubled their number of cases; Germany more than doubles it; Belgium, Italy and the Czech Republic triple it … while other countries such as Switzerland or Poland practically multiply it by four.

All this, I insist, in twelve days and with no short-term prospect of improvement. The measures are containment and it is likely that some of those figures come down from next week but closing bars and teleworking is difficult to end the virus, just mitigate it and cross your fingers.

According to the latest ECDC report, the equivalent to the Spanish CCAES but for all of Europe, the cumulative incidence in the last 14 days exceeds 800 cases in the Czech Republic, 700 in Belgium, 500 in the Netherlands and close to 400 in France. In addition, the United Kingdom and Iceland exceed 300.

What happened to Spain, the absolute leader in advocacy throughout the summer and early fall? Remains just behind the mentioned countries, with an official incidence of 312.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants that does not coincide with that of the Health PDF but I suppose that the ECDC will have other ways of calculating. We talked about that last Monday.

Covid incidence in Europe.

Covid incidence in Europe.

In times of fear, low mobility and no tourism, how is it possible that this second wave has affected all European countries at the same time, from Portugal to Czech Republic? How do you explain this joint outburst, similar to the one in March?

You have to think that it is a matter of habits: apart from the public places of socialization, which are gradually being limited or closed, the arrival of the cold has been a increased indoor gatherings and, above all, ventilation problems not being able to keep windows open for too long. In any case, it is shocking.

The weather could not be the same in Portugal and Switzerland. These coordinated outbreaks in multiple countries they still need to be properly explained, because what is clear is that we cannot avoid them.

The next question is: if all of Europe, and that includes our neighbors Portugal and France, is skyrocketing… why in Spain are we barely noticing the change? Several explanations come into play here: one of them, obviously, is the “magic thinking”: the virus has already been sufficiently primed with our country, achieving a level of immunity that makes another regrowth unlikely after the summer one.

Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence about it and simply relying on an unproven hypothesis (we do not have seroprevalence data but it will hardly exceed 20% even in the hardest hit areas) is dangerous.

The other has to do with the weather. October is being a relatively peaceful month and it is not uncommon to still find parks and terraces full of families, friends who go out for a walk and infections that are avoided by not staying indoors. Without a doubt, that influences for sure.

This is precisely why we are so afraid of the cold, bars full of unventilated air, the heating on full blast and the Atleti game on television. At the moment, it does not seem that we are preparing for a possible resurgence: our current measures are in general very similar to those of the countries that are now struggling to contain their second wave and, without taking a step forward, it is difficult to think that are going to have more effects by infused science.

Worst of all, the data from last week already pointed to an increase in cases and income. While a certain normality is felt in the streets, outpatient clinics and hospitals are still on the brink of collapse treating patients.

Our cumulative incidence is in mid-September figures and rising. The number of daily admissions and the prevalence have just beat your record for this second wave And the same can be said of the deceased (in the last ten days, 1,309 people have died with a Covid clinic according to the autonomous communities, data still unconsolidated).

If something saves us from the catastrophe, it is that Madrid endures. Seeing what was seen every weekend and giving up testing for asymptomatic contacts, it won’t last long. At that time, Spain will be Europe again, only what they call “second wave” will be the third for us.

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