WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A resurgence of new COVID-19 cases has raised concerns among European policymakers and doctors in France, Spain, and the UK.
- Despite the potential second wave of coronavirus, French officials continue to push the reopening of schools and businesses.
- The spike of new infections in Europe was largely attributed to the younger population.
Health experts and policymakers have cautioned a resurgence of new coronavirus infections in European countries such as France, Spain, and the United Kingdom as restrictions put in place become lax.
On Friday, France set a new record high of 8,975 new infections ━ exceeding the 7,578 figures set last March 31 during the climax of the first wave.
In the UK, almost 3,000 new cases were recorded on Thursday alone. It was the highest number of daily cases since May.
Spain, meanwhile, registered about 9,000 new cases on Thursday as well.
Globally speaking, having 90,082 new cases and still growing, India has now overtaken Brazil as the second-ranked country with the most number of COVID-19 infections next to the US.
French policymakers remained firm in plans of reopening businesses and schools even with the continuous spike of new COVID-19 cases that have yet to largely impact more casualties and hospitalizations.
“For the moment, the important number is the number of sick persons, and the number of sick people is not increasing,” French Institute of Health and Medical Research lead epidemiologist Laurent Toubiana said. “The number of deaths are not increasing. So, we shouldn’t be getting worked up.”
According to the French government, the intensive care wards presently sheltering COVID-19 patients were less than 500. It was significantly lower versus the 8,000 occupied units during the height of the pandemic.
France has just launched nationwide free rapid testing which was cited by Toubiana and other European health experts as the reasons for the quick surge of new cases.
The new testing has recorded a statistical jump in younger patients who had mild symptoms or asymptomatic. For instance, Feyrouz Hassam, 30, and her boyfriend Alain Jaber, 28, went to a testing facility in a crowded free testing center in central Paris despite showing no symptoms.
Neither of them was concerned when their results came out positive.
“Obviously, we are already in the second wave,” Hassam told NBC News. “It’s our responsibility to be careful but I don’t think there’s going to be a huge second wave. Hopefully not.”
According to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, they have “seen in other countries across the world and in Europe, this sort of rise in the cases among younger people leads to rise across the population as a whole.”
Recently, France mandated the wearing of face masks in public across major cities. The government is not keen on placing another lockdown that would again hurt the still-recovering economy.
“I cannot envision a general lockdown. The lockdown was a lid on an overflowing cooking pot,” Olivier Veran, French Health Minister, told BFM TV on Saturday.
Source: NBC News