Almost everywhere in Europe, we are preparing to face a “Second wave” of the Covid-19 epidemic. The expression is still subject to controversy between specialists, but it is clear that there is a general increase in daily cases of people tested positive. More than 51,000 new cases were recorded for Friday alone in the 55 countries of the European branch of the World Health Organization, which meets Monday September 14 and Tuesday September 15 for its annual regional committee.
If this figure, taken in isolation, is not enough to understand the dynamics underway in European countries with contrasting screening policies, both in the people targeted and in the number of tests carried out, “We see that the increase in new cases cannot be attributed only to the number of new tests: there is a real increase in transmission in many European countries”, says Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
A “paradoxical situation”
At the head of this epidemic rebound are a few Western European countries, such as Spain, followed closely by France, or Hungary and the Czech Republic, for which the test positivity rate is greater than 3 % and an increase compared to previous weeks, according to data collected by ECDC from public health agencies in each country.
Today, most of the countries of Europe are found in what epidemiologist Antoine Flahault describes as “Paradoxical situation”, characterized by an increase in positive tests but still relatively low mortality. According to the director of the Institute of World Health at the University of Geneva, we can truly speak of a second wave when the curve of new cases and that of mortality increase simultaneously, as was the case in the spring. “Mortality is the justice of the peace, summarizes Dominique Costagliola, Deputy Director of the Pierre-Louis Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health. But, when mortality increases, it is too late. “
Despite this overall trend, the situations are very contrasted depending on the country. “It is difficult to compare European countries with each other according to their health policy”, underlines Dominique Costagliola, due to the diverse population densities, the fluctuating screening efforts since March and the measures taken in accommodation establishments for dependent elderly people (Ehpad). ” Moreover, she adds, a lot of measurements are being taken at the same time, so it is difficult to know which one is working or not. “
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