Can the EU overtake the US?

Europe is now ahead : EU countries overtake the USA in daily new corona infections

After a decrease in the number of cases in the summer months, the focus of the corona pandemic is moving back to the countries of the European Union (EU). The USA is still the country most affected by the pandemic in terms of registered infections. But for the first time since the beginning of April, the countries of the EU are recording more daily Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within a week than the United States.

On Tuesday, health officials reported an average of 150 cases per 100,000 population to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In the US there were 149.

The day before, the value that the US states had reported to the national health authority CDC was just above that of the EU countries. On Wednesday, the gap in cases per 100,000 people between EU countries and the US grew to more than two - 155 to 153.

In other words: in the USA with its 328 million inhabitants around 360,000 new infections were registered in the past seven days, in the EU with its 447 million inhabitants it was around 487,000 new infections.

The last time the EU countries had more cases per 100,000 inhabitants within a week on April 2 against the USA. At that time the average was 64 in the EU and 63 in the US. On that day, the number of cases per 100,000 people in Europe peaked.

Around two weeks after the strict measures and the lockdown in mid-March, the curve flattened significantly, to meanwhile an average of 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU. In the US, on the other hand, the number of cases per 100,000 population rose to more than 200 in July and fell to just over 100 by mid-September, then rose again to 153.

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In the EU, cases have been increasing slowly but continuously since July - but then again rapidly since the beginning of October. Within a month the numbers in the EU have more than doubled.

The development in the EU does not come as a surprise, given the numbers in the hardest hit countries: Spain, which has been hardest hit with more than 900,000 positive tests since March, peaked a month ago with more than 14,000 new infections within one day .

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The situation is similar in other EU countries: The Netherlands only recorded a new high with around 7,000 positive tests on Tuesday. And France registered the highest level of daily new infections on Saturday - almost 27,000 people had been proven to be infected with the corona virus.

It should be said that more tests are carried out in both the EU and the USA than in the spring - but it is noticeable that the positive rate of tests in the EU is also increasing. In the USA it has been around five percent since August, with few fluctuations. In the badly affected EU countries, however, the rate has risen significantly since the summer.

Most significant is the increase in the percentage of positive tests in relation to the total in the Netherlands. There the rate rose from around two percent in August to around 17 percent at present.

In Italy and France, the positive rate was also around two percent in August - and has so far risen to around seven percent in France and around ten percent in Italy. In Spain and Germany it has increased the least since August: In Spain from around seven to nine percent, in Germany from one to 2.5 percent.

[Counties, federal states, Germany, EU and worldwide: You can find a detailed overview of the current Corona numbers here.]

Accordingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern about the corona situation in Europe on Thursday. This is a cause for "great concern," said WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge. The number of new infections every day is increasing, as is the number of hospital admissions. The lung disease Covid-19 caused by the virus is now the fifth most common cause of death, and the threshold of 1,000 deaths per day has been exceeded.

Today you know much more precisely than during the first corona peak in March what can and must be done to contain the spread of the virus, said Kluge. Governments shouldn't hold back on relatively small measures to avoid the bigger restrictions like the spring. "A lot is in our hands - in the hands of governments and the people."

The development does not mean that the situation is back in mid-March. Although two to three times more infections per day are registered than in April, there are five times fewer deaths. Nevertheless, the WHO is very concerned, Kluge made clear.

Predictions from reliable epidemiological models indicated that a prolonged, relaxed approach could catapult daily mortality by January 2021 to four to five times what it was in April 2020. However, the same models also showed that simple measures such as the consistent wearing of masks and strict control of gatherings could save an estimated 281,000 lives in the European region by early February. “The pandemic won't reverse course by itself, but we will. A proportionate and targeted response is the way forward, ”said Kluge. (with dpa)

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