HHS Secretary Says Household Gatherings ‘Main Vectors’ of Spread of Covid-19

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A caregiver prepares an injection in a hallway of the infectious diseases unit at Gonesse hospital before visiting a patient in Gonesse, north of Paris, on October 22. Christophe Archambault / AFP / Getty Images

The five countries with the highest rate of coronavirus infections relative to population are all in Europe, according to the latest moving averages from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by CNN.

These are the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France.

In all five countries, the number of new infections has increased rapidly since the beginning of October and continues to rise.

  • On October 19, the Czech Republic had a daily moving average (measured over five days) of 10,579 new cases. That means 988 new infections per day per million people. On October 1, the rate was 238 per million.
  • Not far behind was Belgium, which had an average of 891 new infections per million population on October 19. At the start of the month, that average was only 198.

These two countries have by far the highest rate of new Covid-19 infections, but other countries in Europe are seeing sharp increases.

The daily average of new cases in the Netherlands at the beginning of October was 2,944; on October 19, it was 8,277. Measured per million population, this represents an increase from 172 to 483 in less than three weeks.

Johns Hopkins lists the 20 countries most affected by the pandemic and in recent days Switzerland has been added. His moving average of new cases on October 19 was 3,618 – more than seven times the number (504) on October 1. This equates to 423 new cases per day per million population.

To complete the most affected countries, France had 381 new cases per million inhabitants on October 19.

The UK has seen a sharp increase in its moving average this month, from 9,729 new cases to 19,290 per day, which equates to 284 cases per million.

The situation in Spain is less dramatic, but the daily average remains stubbornly high. Despite new measures to restrict movement to the worst-affected areas, the daily average of new cases fell only from 14,690 earlier this month to 13,987 on Oct. 19 – 299 per million.

While infections per million are lower in other European countries, they continue to rise.

Italy, which was one of the worst affected countries at the start of the year, is experiencing a new peak. Its moving average of new cases fell from 2,208 earlier this month to 11,341 this week.

Poland is also among the countries listed by Johns Hopkins – its moving average has more than quadrupled this month.

More broadly, according to figures from Johns Hopkins, the moving averages of new cases in India and Brazil continue to decline, while the United States is experiencing a gradual but persistent rise. Its moving average has risen from 43,089 in early October to 59,387 this week, or 179 new cases per day and per million inhabitants.

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