Explained Featured International

Second Wave of Coronavirus Cases in Europe: A Cautionary Tale

second wave of Coronavirus cases

During his address to the nation on 20th of October, PM Modi rightly asked all Indians to continue their vigilance against COVID-19, and that people should not let their guard down against the pandemic in their moments of celebration.

This warning by PM Modi comes at a very crucial juncture, as many European countries which had seen a major decrease in number of COVID cases are now seeing a second wave even bigger than the first wave of cases. Due to this huge resurgence of cases, these countries have been forced to declare lockdowns once again, and normalcy of life has again been severely disrupted.

Huge Spurt of COVID Cases in Europe

Europe alone now accounts for a third of all corona cases in the world, with more than one lakh new cases per day last week according to this article in New York Times. According to an article in The Conversation, the second wave is apparently worse than the first as level of infections are now higher than in March and April across many countries.

The article in The Conversation points out that while France’s daily new case numbers reached a peak of just over 7,500 on March 31, its new peak recorded on 18th of October was 26,675 new cases in the previous 24 hours, over three times higher than the first peak.

As this graph from Worldometers shows, the second wave of cases in France is significantly higher than the first peak it achieved in March and April. Daily case numbers, which had reduced to 3-digits in May, June and July, have now soared to 20,000+ cases in October.

Source: WorldoMeters

Another article in ABC News points out that the French hospital system is on the verge of being overwhelmed, with doctors warning of hospital bed shortages across Paris as COVID-19 patients clog ICU wards.

Similarly, UK which had a peak number of 7,860 daily cases on April 10, has jumped to a peak of 17,540 on October 8.  This graph from Worldometers is also testament to the emergence of second wave in U.K.

Source: Worldometers

Similarly, in other European countries like Germany, Spain and even in Russia, there has been a dramatic increase in cases, forcing these national governments to impose restriction again to combat the spread of virus.

Lessons That India Needs to Imbibe

PM Modi’s timely speech is precisely intended to prevent the start of Europe like second wave, which would once again force state government to impose restrictions and further lockdowns and move away from the Unlock phase that we are currently in.

Thankfully,  a government panel consisting of scientists from IIT and IISc have said that pandemic in India peaked in mid-September, and if all precautions are continued to be followed, pandemic can be controlled by February-end with minimal active symptomatic infections.

As PM Modi reiterated in his speech, even though India’s recovery rate has improved and fatality rate and cases per million are low compared to many western countries, “Jab Tak davayi nahin, tab tak dhilayi nahin” (No carefree approach until the vaccine arrives).

It is now in hands of Indian citizens to ensure there is no second wave in India by following the simple requests repeatedly made by PM Modi since beginning of the pandemic:

  1. wear mask whenever one steps out of the house
  2. practice social distancing
  3. Wash hands with soap and follow all related hygiene measures