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Virus resurgence a major threat to Europe

Monday June 22nd 2020

Europe is going to struggle to control a resurgence of Covid-19, according to analysts.

The trends in Asia suggest there will be resurgence – but it will be harder to detect and could be bigger than in Asia, according to analysts at GlobalData.

Dr Kasey Fu, its director of epidemiology, said that the USA and Europe continue to report relatively high numbers of new cases.

Globally the worldwide number of reported cases passed nine million over the weekend, driven by more than 30,000 reported in a catch-up exercise in Brazil, which passed a million reported cases and 50,000 deaths. The number of reported deaths worldwide is approaching 500,000.

The USA has reported 122,000 deaths but GlobalData says this may be understated by up to 50,000, based on analysis of excess deaths. Over the weekend President Trump claimed to have sought to reduce rates of testing with a view to reducing public anxiety about the pandemic.

Dr Fu said: "China, Japan, and South Korea experienced Covi-19 outbreaks months before the West did. Since then, these regions have controlled daily new cases to extremely low levels and have re-opened at least parts of their economies. However, we have already seen in the past month that these regions all have experienced resurgences.

“Compared with these three Asian regions, new cases in the US and Europe are significantly higher. Spain, for example, is still reporting on average over 1,000 daily new cases last week, UK is reporting on average 4,500 daily new cases, and the US is reporting on average 22,500 daily new cases.

"With background infections still in the thousands in Europe, and tens of thousands in the US, new hot spots are going to be difficult to detect.

“On-going testing problems and lab backlogs will further hinder the timely identification of new hot spots. If authorities cannot detect hot spots in a timely manner, they will be harder to control. Increases in cases that are considered to be resurgences in Asia might not even register in the West. This could ultimately result in much larger secondary outbreaks, and extend the overall recovery time.”

The warning was reinforced in the UK today by hospital managers.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, tells the Times: “The last thing we should do now is start dismantling our defences, re-opening the risk of the health service being overwhelmed.

“Forward planning conducted by trusts over the last month indicates that the nightmare scenario is a second surge coinciding with winter when the NHS always struggles to keep up with demand. Maintaining the Nightingale hospitals and the private sector for the rest of the year is vital.”

Tags: Europe | Flu & Viruses | NHS | North America | UK News

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