Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Europe enters the period of ‘living with Covid-19’

Avatar of Nick John By Nick John Dec6,2023 #Covid #enters #Europe
Europe enters the period of 'living with Covid-19' 2
Europe enters the period of 'living with Covid-19' 2

France and most European countries are choosing to live with nCoV as infections continue to increase, and the risk of a second wave of infection constantly haunts the entire continent.

Giving up hope of completely eradicating the virus or developing a vaccine within weeks, Europeans are starting to return to work and study, living as normally as possible amid a persistent pandemic that has killed more than 215,000 people.

Temperature checks outside a cinema in Málaga, Spain, last month.

This approach stands in stark contrast to the United States, where restrictions to protect people from the virus are causing political division and many regions have pushed to reopen schools, stores and restaurants without

Europeans are now proactively applying the lessons that were difficult for them to learn in the early stages of the pandemic, such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing, actively testing and tracing the source of infection, and coping with the virus.

All of the above measures, which are tightened and loosened as needed, are aimed at preventing the national blockade that paralyzed Europe and destroyed the economy as it did at the beginning of the year.

`It is impossible to stop the virus,` emphasized Emmanuel André, a leading virologist and former spokesman for the Belgian government’s anti-Covid-19 task force.

`The people are tired. They don’t want to fight anymore,` he said.

`We are entering the stage of living with the virus,` said Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health of Italy, the first country in Europe to impose a nationwide blockade to prevent Covid-19.

In an interview with La Stampa newspaper, Speranza noted that while `a zero infection rate is non-existent,` Italy is now much better equipped to deal with the epidemic.

However, many risks still exist.

New infections have been skyrocketing in recent weeks, especially in France and Spain.

The number of deaths of about 30 people per day is only a small fraction compared to the period when the epidemic peaked with hundreds or even more than 1,000 people dying every day from Covid-19 in France.

The reason is that virus cases now tend to be younger and health officials have learned how to treat Covid-19 more effectively, said William Dab, an epidemiologist and former French national health director.

`The virus is still circulating freely. We are very poorly controlling the chain of infection and certainly people at high risk such as the elderly, obese and diabetics will be affected,` he said.

Europe enters the period of 'living with Covid-19'

The streets of Birmingham, England, September 14.

In Germany, young people also account for a high proportion of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections.

At the beginning of September, only 5% of cases required hospitalization, according to data from German health authorities.

Hendrik Streeck, head of the virology department at a research institute in Bonn, Germany, noted that the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic should not be assessed solely based on the number of infections but should instead be based on the number of deaths.

`We have reached the stage where the number of infections is no longer meaningful,` he said.

Much of Europe was unprepared when Covid-19 struck.

Nationwide blockade helps the pandemic be controlled throughout Europe.

Even as infections are rising, Europeans returned to work and study this month, creating more opportunities for the virus to spread.

`The current challenge for the government is to find a balance between the task of economic recovery and protecting people’s health,` said epidemiologist Dab.

Among these measures, wearing masks is being widely adopted across Europe and governments agree that their use is essential.

At the beginning of the year, because supply did not meet demand, the French government discouraged people from wearing masks, saying they could not protect the wearer and were even harmful.

Instead of applying a nationwide blockade without taking into account differences between regions as before, authorities in countries have begun to respond more quickly to each local epidemic cluster with specific measures.

For example, on September 14, officials in the city of Bordeaux, France, announced that they were facing a rapid increase in the number of infections, so the government would limit personal gatherings to 10 people, limiting

In Germany, while the new school year has begun, authorities warn that traditional events such as carnivals or Christmas fairs may have to be reduced in scale or canceled.

In the UK, where wearing masks is not strictly enforced, authorities have tightened rules on family gatherings in Birmingham, a city that is seeing a resurgence in infections.

Europe enters the period of 'living with Covid-19'

An nCoV testing site in Vénissieux, France, last week.

In Italy, the government blockaded villages, hospitals or even migrant shelters to stop new epidemic clusters.

According to epidemiologist Antonio Miglietta, months of fighting Covid-19 have helped authorities know how to extinguish the epidemic before it gets out of control.

`We are doing better every day,` he said.

When the outbreak first broke out, most French people criticized the government’s response to the epidemic.

Jérôme Carrière, 55, a police officer from his hometown of Metz, northern France, who is visiting Paris, said the fact that most people were wearing masks was a good sign.

`At first, like all French people, we were shocked and worried,` Carrière shared.

Vu Hoang (According to NYTimes)

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