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Is the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic now behind us?

17 1 2
01.06.2020

Brussels – The story of COVID-19 has been pretty bleak, from the scale of the novel coronavirus’s death toll to the pain of draconian lockdowns imposed by, in many cases, unprepared and under-resourced governments.

But several weeks after the tentative lifting of tough stay-at-home restrictions in several major European countries, there are reasons to be optimistic about the risk of a second wave of cases — with a dose of appropriate caution.

In France, the government is forging ahead with the reopening of bars, restaurants, museums, parks and cross-country travel after the first phase of "deconfinement” went much better than expected. The daily increase in cases here averaged around 0.5 percent last week, according to Bloomberg data, and the virus’s basic reproduction rate is below 1, according to the French government and other estimates based on hospitalizations.

Elsewhere, Italy, Germany and Spain have also avoided serious flare-ups in cases and deaths as restrictions are eased. It’s similar in Austria and Denmark, which lifted lockdowns back in April. Weekly confirmed cases show the continuation of a declining trend. That’s despite people going out and about once again, albeit with face masks and hand gel, and a stay on........

© The Japan Times