Europe, U. S. reel­ing af­ter in­fec­tion surge

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - WORLD - BY DAVID CRARY, CARLA K. JOHNSON AND GEIR MOULSON

Coro­n­avirus cases around the world have climbed to all-time highs of more than 330,000 per day as the scourge comes storm­ing back across Europe and spreads with re­newed speed in the U.S., forc­ing many places to reim­pose tough re­stric­tions they had eased just a few months ago.

Well af­ter Europe seemed to have largely tamed the virus that proved so lethal last spring, newly con­firmed in­fec­tions are reach­ing un­prece­dented lev­els in Ger­many, the Czech Re­pub­lic, Italy and Poland, and most of the rest of the con­ti­nent is see­ing sim­i­lar dan­ger signs.

France im­posed a 9 p.m. cur­few on Paris and other big cities. Lon­don­ers face new re­stric­tions on meet­ing with peo­ple in­doors. The Nether­lands closed bars and restau­rants this week. And the Czech Re­pub­lic and North­ern Ire­land shut down schools.

In the United States, new cases per day are on the rise in 44 states, with the big­gest surges in the Mid­west and Great Plains, where re­sis­tance to wear­ing masks and ob­serv­ing other so­cial dis­tanc­ing prac­tices has been run­ning high. Deaths per day are climb­ing in 30 states.

“I see this as one of the tough­est times in the epi­demic,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, an in­fec­tious- dis­ease spe­cial­ist at the Bay­lor Col­lege of Medicine in Texas. “The num­bers are go­ing up pretty rapidly. We’re go­ing to see a pretty large epi­demic across the North­ern Hemi­sphere.”

Dr. An­thony Fauci, the U.S. gov­ern­ment’s top in­fec­tious-dis­ease ex­pert, said Amer­i­cans should think hard about whether to hold Thanks­giv­ing gath­er­ings.

“Ev­ery­one has this tra­di­tional, emo­tional, warm feel­ing about the hol­i­days and bring­ing a group of peo­ple, friends and fam­ily, to­gether in the house in­doors,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.” “We re­ally have to be care­ful this time that each in­di­vid­ual fam­ily eval­u­ates the risk ben­e­fit of do­ing that.”

Ac­cord­ing to Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, new cases in the U.S. have risen from about 40,000 per day on av­er­age to more than 52,000 over the past two weeks. Deaths were rel­a­tively sta­ble over the same pe­riod, at around 720 a day. World­wide, deaths have fallen slightly to about 5,200 a day.

The head of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Europe of­fice urged govern­ments to be “un­com­pro­mis­ing” in con­trol­ling the virus. He said most of the spread is hap­pen­ing be­cause peo­ple aren’t com­ply­ing with the rules.

“These mea­sures are meant to keep us all ahead of the curve and to flat­ten its course,” Dr. Hans Kluge said, while wear­ing a mask. “It is there­fore up to us to ac­cept them while they are still rel­a­tively easy to fol­low.”

Europe’s fi­nan­cial mar­kets fell sharply Thurs­day on con­cerns that the new re­stric­tions will un­der­cut the con­ti­nent’s re­cov­ery, and stocks slumped in af­ter­noon trad­ing on Wall Street.

The Czech Re­pub­lic con­firmed more than 9,500 new virus cases on Wed­nes­day, more than 900 more than the days-old pre­vi­ous record. The gov­ern­ment an­nounced the mil­i­tary will set up a virus hos­pi­tal at Prague’s ex­hi­bi­tion cen­ter.

In France, which re­ported over 22,000 new in­fec­tions Wed­nes­day, Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron put 18 mil­lion res­i­dents in nine re­gions, in­clud­ing Paris, un­der a cur­few start­ing Satur­day.

Italy set a daily record for in­fec­tions and recorded the high­est daily death toll of this sec­ond wave, adding 83 vic­tims to bring its of­fi­cial count to nearly 36,400, the sec­ond-high­est in Europe af­ter Bri­tain.

AP PHOTO/ LUCA BRUNO

A med­i­cal staff mem­ber tests a boy for COVID-19 at a drive-thru at the San Paolo hos­pi­tal, in Mi­lan, Italy, on Thurs­day.

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