Europe Fears Second Wave of COVID-19 As Daily Cases Surpass U.S.

This new spike in European cases may be linked to the movement of vacationers, now that internal borders within the EU have reopened.

tourists stand outside the Eiffel Tower

Western Europe surpassed the U.S. in the daily count of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, once again becoming a virus hotspot.

The 27 countries in the European Union, in addition to the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, reported a total of more than 27,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The U.S. reported about 26,000 new cases on Thursday, although the number increased to almost 32,000 by Friday, according to the World Health Organization.

Authorities in France, the UK, and Spain are on particularly high alert about a second wave of the virus, after cases have started to reemerge since national lockdowns lifted in mid-May.

On Friday, France reported almost 9,000 new cases — which broke its previous daily record of 7,578, set on March 31 during the height of the pandemic. Spain, which is experiencing the most potent resurgence in the continent over the past 14 days, reported more than 4,100 cases on Thursday. Italy saw almost 1,600.

This new spike in European cases may be linked to the movement of vacationers, now that internal borders within the EU have reopened. And an increased number of those infected are young people who are socializing and restaurants and bars reopen, according to Bloomberg.

But the uptick in cases hasn't translated to an increase in deaths. Europe reported 252 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as compared to the thousands of daily deaths that were common in mid-March, at the height of the pandemic. This could be attributed to the combination of younger patients becoming infected now, increased testing of asymptomatic patients and better treatment options available, according to NBC News.

Although the U.S. is reporting fewer and fewer cases of COVID-19, it is still one of the most highly-affected countries in the world, reporting more new cases than every other individual country except India and Brazil. The U.S. has also reported the most deaths in the world from COVID-19.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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