Europe grapples with second wave of virus as infections rise

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The second wave of coronavirus in Europe continues to hit the continent, with France recording its highest daily cases since the end of lockdowns and Spain reporting its worst infection rate since the start of the epidemic.Amid the ongoing battle to stop the increase in coronavirus cases, European governments have used large-scale testing and isolation to control the virus. France on Thursday recorded a daily tally of 6,111 new confirmed coronavirus infections, the highest level since the end of lockdowns and the second highest on record. This is the highest since a high of 7,578 seen on March 30 during a lockout, at the height of the epidemic.

France recommended that anyone who thinks they need a test take one. French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that face masks would become mandatory across Paris, expressing concern over an “undeniable” trend of the spread of infection in the country. Castex said 19 more departments have been added to a map with “red” areas of active virus circulation, meaning 21 of France’s 94 departments are classified as such.

In Germany, people who have close contact of 15 minutes or more with someone with COVID-19 are advised to take a test. Germany has recorded its highest number of daily virus cases since April in recent days, with authorities suggesting that large numbers of returning summer tourists may bring the virus with them. The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states on Thursday unveiled tougher measures to stem the spread, including extending a ban on major events until December 31.

In Spain, children over 6 will be required to wear face masks to school at all times, the government said, as it seeks to return to school despite an increase in coronavirus infections. In the past two weeks, Spain has recorded 190 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, by far the worst rate of the 27 countries in the European Union.

Countries around the world are struggling to find a balance between the need for populations to return to work and study with mastery of cases, especially fearing a return to draconian lockdowns. The pandemic has killed more than 826,000 people worldwide since it emerged in China at the end of last year, and more than 24 million infections have been recorded.

Deaths in the United States exceed 180,000

Deaths in the United States from the coronavirus topped 180,000 on Thursday as Iowa and Minnesota reported record one-day increases in new infections. Nationally, metrics on new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and test positivity rates are all down, but there are emerging hot spots in the Midwest. Many states have reported an increase in cases, with Iowa registering 1,288 new cases on Thursday after seeing infections rise nearly 7% last week. Minnesota reported 1,154 new cases and saw its new cases increase by 4% last week, according to a Reuters analysis. Cases are also on the rise in nearby Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Minnesota Department of Health said 265 of the new cases were due to delayed test results from a lab and that the backlog will also affect future reports. Health experts have warned there could be another rise in the number of cases across the United States as schools reopen and colder weather forces more gatherings indoors.

India recorded another high of 77,266 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to more than 3.38 million reported cases. Almost 47% of the virus cases in India were detected this month alone. The health ministry also reported 1,057 deaths on Friday for a total of 61,529. The country has recorded more than 60,000 new infections per day for nearly three weeks. India’s former highest daily tally was 75,760 on Wednesday.

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