Europe is learning to live with this coronavirus, even cases increase

PARIS – Early in the epidemic, President Emanuel Macron inspired the French to “wage war” against the coronovirus. Today, his message is “learn to live with the virus.”

From full-blown conflict to control of the Cold War, France and the rest of Europe have opted for coexistence as the transition progresses, recurring in the risky autumn in summer and the possibility of a second wave of the continent. Hunts.

After abandoning the hope of eradicating the virus or developing a vaccine within weeks, Europeans have largely gone back to work and school, making a permanent epidemic as short as possible as possible. About 215,000 have been killed in Europe.

This approach is in contrast to the United States, where sanctions to protect against the virus are politically divisive and where many areas have been pushed forward with the reopening of schools, shops and restaurants without foundational protocols. The result is that almost the same number of deaths have occurred in Europe, although among a small population.

Europeans are, for the most part, putting to use the hard-won lessons from the early stages of the epidemic: the need to wear masks and practice social disturbances, the importance of testing and tracing, nimbly and locally reacting Significant advantages. All those measures, tightened or loosened as needed, are intended to prevent a national lockdown that crippled the continent and crippled economies earlier this year.

“It is not possible to stop the virus,” said Emmanuel André, a prominent virologist in Belgium and former spokesman of the government’s Kovid-19 task force. “It’s about maintaining balance. And we have only a few tools available to do this. “

He said, “People are tired. They don’t want to go to war anymore.

Martial language has given way to more measured assurances.

“We are in a living-in-virus phase,” said Roberto Sparenza, Italy’s Minister of Health, the first country in Europe to implement a national lockout. In an interview with the La Stampa newspaper, Mr. Schapernza said that although “zero infection rates do not exist,” Italy was now better equipped to handle the increase in infections.

“There is not going to be another lockdown,” Mr. Speranza said.

Nevertheless, the risks remain.

New infections have increased in recent weeks, most notably in France and Spain. France reported more than 10,000 cases on a single day last week. Not surprisingly since the jump, the overall testing being done – now about 1 million a week – has steadily increased and is now more than 10 times that in the spring.

The death rate of about 30 people a day is a small fraction of the time it took hundreds of deaths every day in France and sometimes more than 1,000. That’s because infected people now become younger and health officials have learned how to better treat Kovid-19, said William Dabb, an epidemiologist and a French former national health director.

“The virus is still roaming freely, we are controlling a series of worsening infections, and essentially high-risk people – the elderly, the obese, the diabetic – are being affected,” Mr. Dab said.

In Germany too, overdose is presented to young people amidst increasing cases of infection.

While German health authorities are testing more than a million people a week, the relevance of infection rates in providing snapshots of an epidemic has begun to be debated.

According to data from the country’s Health Authority, only 5 percent of cases had to go to the hospital for treatment at the beginning of September. During the height of the epidemic in April, 22 percent of the infected people ended up in hospital care.

Hendrik Streeck, head of virology at a research hospital in the German city of Bonn, warned that the epidemic should lead to death and hospitalization, not just infection numbers.

“We have reached a stage where the number of infections alone is no longer as meaningful,” Mr. Streak said.

Most of Europe was unprepared for the arrival of coronaviruses, which lacked masks, test kits, and other basic equipment. Even countries that are better than others, like Germany, registered far more death tolls than Asian countries, which were closer to the source of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, but it did so faster. Reacted to.

The national lockdown helped bring the epidemic under control across Europe. But after the opening of the countries the rate of infection began to rise again in the summer and people, especially the young, resumed socialization, often without following social-guidelines.

Even as the infection is on the rise, Europeans have returned to work and school this month, creating a greater chance of the virus spreading.

“We control infection chains better than in March or April,” said Mr. Dab, former French national health director. “The challenge for the government now is to find a balance between reviving the economy and protecting people’s health.”

“And it’s not an easy balance,” Mr. Dub said. “They want to reassure people so that they go back to work, but at the same time, we have to make them anxious so that they continue to respect preventive measures.”

Among those measures, masks are now widely available throughout Europe, and governments, for the most part, agree on the need to wear them. Earlier this year, faced with a shortage, the French government discouraged people from wearing masks, saying they do not protect wearers and could also be harmful.

Wearing face coverings has become a part of the lives of Europeans, most of whom last March still kept tourists coming from Asia out of doubt and understanding, where the practice has been widely practiced for the past two decades.

Instead of enforcing national lockdowns regarding regional differences, even in a highly centralized nation like France – authorities have begun to respond more quickly to local hot spots with specific measures.

On Monday, for example, Bordeaux officials announced that, facing an increase in infections, they would limit private ceremonies to 10 people, ban visits to retirement homes and from standing at bars. Will refuse

In Germany, while the new school year has begun with mandatory physical classes around the country, officials have warned that traditional events, such as a carnival or Christmas market, may have to be canceled or canceled. Soccer games in the Bundesliga will be played without fans until at least the end of October.

In Britain, where the wearing of masks has not been particularly widespread or strictly enforced, authorities have tightened regulations on family gatherings in Birmingham, where the infection is on the rise. In Belgium, people are restricted to restricting their social activity to a bubble of six people.

In Italy, the government has closed villages, hospitals, or even migrant shelters to include emerging groups. Antonio Miglietta, an epidemiologist who conducted contact tracing in a shabby building in Rome in June, said months of battling the virus had helped authorities extinguish the outbreak before spiraling out of control, the way it The year was done in Northern Italy.

“We got better at it,” he said.

Governments still need to get better at other things.

At the peak of the epidemic, France, like many other European countries, was so desperately short of test kits that many sick people were never able to test.

Today, although France performs a million tests a week, extensive testing has caused delays in appointments and obtaining results – up to a week in Paris. People can now conduct tests regardless of their symptoms or their history of contacts, and authorities have not instituted priority tests that will trigger the highest risk outcomes for people themselves and others.

“We may have a more targeted testing policy that would be more useful in fighting the virus,” said Lionel Barrand, president of the Union of Young Medical Biologists. With a prescription, people engage in targeted screening campaigns to fight the trials and emergence of groups.

Experts said that French health authorities should also improve contact-tracing efforts which proved to be important in spreading the virus to Asian countries.

After the end of its two-month lockdown in May, France’s social security system put in place a manual contact-tracing system to track infected people and their contacts. But the system, which relies heavily on the skill and experience of human interaction trailers, has produced mixed results.

At the beginning of the campaign, each infected person gave an average of 2.4 other names to the contact tracer, most of whom were family members. According to a recent report by French health officials, the campaign steadily improved as the number of names exceeded five in July.

But since then, the average figure has gradually fallen to less than three contacts per person, while the number of confirmed cases of Kovid-19 has increased tenfold in the meantime, averaging about 800 new cases per day to seven. Has been increasing since days. – According to data compiled by The New York Times, currently up to 8,000 per day on average.

At the height of the epidemic, most people in France were highly critical of the government’s handling of the epidemic. But surveys show that the majority now believes that the government will handle the second wave better than the first.

A police officer visiting Paris from his home in Metz, northern France, Jerame Carrier, said it was a good sign that most people were now wearing masks.

“At the beginning, like all French people, we were shocked and worried,” said Mr. Carrier, 55, two large family friends who died Kovid-19. “And then, we adjusted and went back to our normal lives.”

Reporting includes Constant Mehet and Antonella Francini from Paris, Matt Apuzzo from Brussels, Gaia Pianigiani and Emma Bubola from Rome and Christopher F. from Berlin. Shuetze’s contribution was.