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Worried European nations revive curfews, lockdowns amid 'exponential growth' in virus


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Worried European nations revive curfews, lockdowns amid 'exponential growth' in virus

By Benoit Van Overstraeten and Jan Lopatka

 

2020-10-14T190417Z_2_LYNXMPEG9D0TQ_RTROPTP_4_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-SPAIN.JPG

People walk past a closed restaurant during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Barcelona, Spain, October 14, 2020. REUTERS/ Albert Gea

 

PARIS/PRAGUE (Reuters) - France imposed curfews while other European nations are closing schools, cancelling surgeries and enlisting student medics as overwhelmed authorities face the nightmare scenario of a COVID-19 resurgence at the onset of winter.

 

With new cases hitting about 100,000 daily, Europe has by a wide margin overtaken the United States, where more than 51,000 COVID-19 infections are reported on average every day.

 

As cases in France climbed rapidly, President Emmanuel Macron announced night curfews for four weeks from Saturday in Paris and other major cities, affecting almost one-third of the country's 67 million people.

 

Macron said in an interview on national television that the curfews were to halt temporarily "the parties, the moments of conviviality where there are 50 or 60 people, festive evenings because, unfortunately, these are vectors for the acceleration of the disease."

"We'll get through this if we stick together," he said.

 

Most European governments eased lockdowns over the summer to start reviving economies already battered by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

But the return of normal activity - from packed restaurants to new university terms - fuelled a sharp spike in cases all over the continent.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she and leaders of Germany's 16 states agreed on Wednesday on tougher measures without detailing them. "We are already in a phase of exponential growth, the daily numbers show that," she said.

 

Bars and pubs were among the first to shut or face earlier closing in the new lockdowns, but now the surging infection rates are also testing governments' resolve to keep schools and non-COVID medical care going.

 

Even Pope Francis was subject to new coronavirus rules, staying put at a safe distance from well-wishers at his weekly audience on Wednesday.

In Lisbon, football fans were unsurprised after Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for the virus, saying it simply showed everyone was at risk of getting infected.

 

The Czech Republic, with Europe's worst rate per capita, has shifted schools to distance learning and plans to call up thousands of medical students. Hospitals are cutting non-urgent medical procedures to free up beds.

 

"Sometimes we are at the edge of crying," said Lenka Krejcova, a head nurse at Slany hospital near Prague, as builders hurried to turn a general ward into a COVID-19 department.

 

Poland is ramping up training for nurses and considering creating military field hospitals, Moscow is to move many students to online learning and Northern Ireland is closing schools for two weeks and restaurants for four.

 

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin described Northern Ireland's rise in cases as "hugely worrying," and the government increased restrictions in three counties on the border as well as almost all visits to homes across the country.

 

"We are on the brink of disaster," immunologist Pawel Grzesiowski said in Poland, which reported a record 6,526 infections and 116 deaths on Wednesday.

 

Efforts to develop a vaccine hit snags in some areas, with Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N> pausing its trial after an unexplained illness in a study participant. AstraZeneca's <AZN.L> U.S. trial has remained on hold for more than a month.

 

Russia, which recorded a record daily increase in cases, has meanwhile granted regulatory approval to a second vaccine.

 

IMPOSSIBLE CHOICES

Germany, England and France have so far resisted pressure to close schools, but in Germany, politicians are debating whether to extend the Christmas-New Year school break to curb contagion.

 

The Netherlands returned to partial lockdown, closing bars and restaurants, but kept schools open.

 

European infections have been running at an average of almost 100,000 a day - about a third of the global total - forcing governments to tighten restrictions while attempting to avoid destroying livelihoods.

 

The United Kingdom, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of Europe's new cases in the week to Oct. 11, according to the World Health Organization.

 

In the United States, with the world's highest number of confirmed infections, 22 states have so far in October set records for increases in new cases. But deaths are trending downward and have averaged 700 a day over the last week.

 

FIELD HOSPITALS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces opposition calls for another national lockdown in England, but has so far resisted. Hospital admissions, however, are climbing and field hospitals constructed in the spring are once more being readied.

 

London faces tighter restrictions within days, the Financial Times reported.

 

In Spain, authorities in Catalonia ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days and limited the numbers of people allowed in shops.

 

In Belgium, with Europe's second worst infection rate per capita, hospitals must now reserve a quarter of their beds for COVID-19 patients.

 

"We can't see the end of the tunnel today," Renaud Mazy, managing director of the University Clinics of Saint-Luc in Brussels, told La Premiere radio.

 

In Australia, one of the most successful countries in fighting the virus, clusters have emerged in the two most populous states, prompting New South Wales to delay relaxing some restrictions.

 

And new curbs have been imposed in Malaysia, where the royal palace postponed all meetings for two weeks.

 

(Additional reporting by Emma Thomasson, Geert De Clercq, Antonio Denti, Agnieszka Barteczko, Carl O'Donnell, Michael Erman, Vladimir Soldatkin, Catarina Demony, Miguel Pereira, Emily Roe, Carl O'Donnell, Manas Mishra, Manuel Mucari, Melanie Burton,Padraic Halpin, Maria Sheahan, Paul Carre; and Luis Felipe Castilleja; Writing by Mark Bendeich, Andrew Cawthorne and Giles Elgood; Editing by Alison Williams, Mark Heinrich and Cynthia Osterman)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-10-15
 
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2 minutes ago, Donga said:

"Exponential growth" in cases of young people with minuscule deaths

Yes the more tests you dovtge more  you find.

Now the only statistics they mention is the "alarming" rate of infection but  conveniently firget to show the flatlined "death rate"

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Well Europe, welcome to the 2nd or 3rd wave, courtesy of your young generation who think that they will not likely die even if they get sick.  The true,  me me me generation is now on display, but not to worry it exists around the world.   Do you think it is the older people in the USA or Canada,  that are still spreading the corona virus,  well good luck with that thought. Even in Canada a woman who was not so old got arrested  for going back to work in a seniors home, only 4 days after she had travelled out of Canada to another country and came back. Yup those younger people sure know how to be  cautious adults. Not..  And no I am not saying that they are all,  me me me people, but there are enough that the virus numbers are climbing again.

Geezer

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14 hours ago, johng said:

Yes the more tests you dovtge more  you find.

Now the only statistics they mention is the "alarming" rate of infection but  conveniently firget to show the flatlined "death rate"

It's true the death rate is ignored now, to focus on the alarmist case numbers.

 

However, the death rate is also going up slowly in Germany. The point is though it's going up from a very low figure.

 

Let's not forget at the beginning of the pandemic so-called experts had predicted over 500,000 deaths in the UK.

 

https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/05/08/so-the-real-scandal-is-why-did-anyone-ever-listen-to-this-guy/

 

In reality the death figures are very low. At the start of the pandemic the 3% figure was used, now academics say 0.66% or 0.27% are more accurate. 

 

What is sure is that the death rate is far lower than people like Neil Ferguson predicted, and his alarmist predictions should never have been used. They were wildly inaccurate.

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/professors-model-for-coronavirus-predictions-should-not-have-been-used-z7dqrkzzd

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12 minutes ago, 248900_1469958220 said:

The death rate now when compared to what was quoted at the start of this whole thing is.....bloody ridiculous. The fear mongering from the govt/media has been disgusting. Neil Ferguson should not be listened to again. The bloke obviously pressed the wrong button on his calculator and didnt bother to double check. At the start I was VERY VERY WORRIED and let it get to me, I think many did. As this whole debacle has progressed I have just become more and more angry. This new strain of the corona virus has been used as a political tool certain groups in the UK/U.S and other countries. The world has gone literally mad. figures of death rates over 3%....perhaps I even remember up to 9%???? were TOTALLY BLOODY RIDICULOUS. 

That is exactly right, the world has gone mad. Experts are clearly clueless and contradict each other at every turn.

 

I'm also angry because at the start the politicians could have made a difference but did not nothing. After their reckless inaction which has allowed the virus to spread they now overreact with useless over-restrictive measures and dare to claim the credit when the virus abates. And anyone who criticises them is a "conspiracy theorist" etc. The virus is indeed used as a tool to legitimize an incompetent political class.

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9 hours ago, Stargrazer9889 said:

Well Europe, welcome to the 2nd or 3rd wave, courtesy of your young generation who think that they will not likely die even if they get sick.  The true,  me me me

generation is now on display, but not to worry it exists around the world.   Do you think it is the older people in the USA or Canada,  that are still spreading the corona virus,  well good luck with that thought. Even in Canada a woman who was not so old got arrested for going back to work in a seniors home, only 4 days after she had travelled out of Canada to another country and came back. Yup those younger people sure know how to be  cautious adults. Not..  And no I am not saying that they are all,  me me me people, but there are enough that the virus numbers are climbing again.

Geezer

The scapegoat has been found and it's the younger generation. Maybe one reason for their selfish attitude - assuming it exists - is because they were following the example set by previous generations?

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IMO it is early yet to be too presuming about death rates . This virus is not an instant killer of those who are badly effected so despite improved medical interventions it will become significant in line with the case numbers.

Sadly it will also impact on any relaxation of travel restrictions elsewhere.

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5 hours ago, 248900_1469958220 said:

The death rate now when compared to what was quoted at the start of this whole thing is.....bloody ridiculous. The fear mongering from the govt/media has been disgusting. Neil Ferguson should not be listened to again. The bloke obviously pressed the wrong button on his calculator and didnt bother to double check. At the start I was VERY VERY WORRIED and let it get to me, I think many did. As this whole debacle has progressed I have just become more and more angry. This new strain of the corona virus has been used as a political tool certain groups in the UK/U.S and other countries. The world has gone literally mad. figures of death rates over 3%....perhaps I even remember up to 9%???? were TOTALLY BLOODY RIDICULOUS. 

It's not just the death rate that matters.  Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease.  It is more contagious than influenza, it's approximately 3 times more contagious than the flu.   Infected people are also infectious for a longer period of time than the flu.   

So, the situation is that you have a disease that spreads easily and quickly.   It has a high rate of hospitalization and requires isolation/quarantine for those with mild symptoms.   That means a whole lot of people either not working due to illness/infection and a lot of people in the hospital and in the hospital longer than for the regular flu.   

 

We have no idea how long immunity lasts.  Worldwide we are seeing people being reinfected with the virus and in most of those cases the second infection is worse than the first one.   

 

We are coming up with better treatment options, but this is still hit and miss.  Until there is an effective and safe vaccine we are stuck with a situation that is difficult to deal with, but pretending it doesn't exist and being cavalier will exacerbate the situation, not help it.     

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10 hours ago, Stargrazer9889 said:

Well Europe, welcome to the 2nd or 3rd wave, courtesy of your young generation who think that they will not likely die even if they get sick.  The true,  me me me generation is now on display, but not to worry it exists around the world.   Do you think it is the older people in the USA or Canada,  that are still spreading the corona virus,  well good luck with that thought. Even in Canada a woman who was not so old got arrested  for going back to work in a seniors home, only 4 days after she had travelled out of Canada to another country and came back. Yup those younger people sure know how to be  cautious adults. Not..  And no I am not saying that they are all,  me me me people, but there are enough that the virus numbers are climbing again.

Geezer

I agree that young people are a driver of the infections at this point, but I am not inclined to 'blame' them directly.  Young people have always been rather reckless.   It is up to those who are more responsible to protect them from themselves to some extent.   In the area where I live, they opened the bars (and restaurants).   The bars were instantly filled with young people, no masks, no social distancing.   Shortly after, the infection rate shot up.   The bars and restaurants were subsequently closed and the infection rate dropped.  I don't know who would want to go to a bar for the evening and sit a meter away and keep a mask on.   

 

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On 10/15/2020 at 5:34 AM, webfact said:

As cases in France climbed rapidly, President Emmanuel Macron announced night curfews for four weeks from Saturday in Paris and other major cities, affecting almost one-third of the country's 67 million people.

 

Macron said in an interview on national television that the curfews were to halt temporarily "the parties, the moments of conviviality where there are 50 or 60 people, festive evenings because, unfortunately, these are vectors for the acceleration of the disease."

"We'll get through this if we stick together," he said.

As I recall the Thai-bashing brigade were up in arms when a similar night-time curfew was imposed here in Thailand a few months ago. But it would not surprise me in the slightest if the typical Thai basher were of the view that we should all be fulsomely singing the praises of France to the very highest heavens as being the best thing since sliced bread in controlling the spread of COVID-19 through the imposition of curfews, purely on the grounds that it is not called Thailand! 

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