Europe’s Infections Surge as Weariness and Economic Pain Set In

The U.K., France, Italy and Spain on Friday all reported the highest numbers of coronavirus cases since Europe’s deadly spring outbreak.

Infections have picked up across the continent in recent weeks, prompting governments to re-introduce lockdowns in some cities and regions. Health officials in Germany and other countries have blamed new outbreaks on social gatherings and travelers returning from abroad, while others have cited an increase in testing.

The widespread spike comes as European leaders are intensely feeling the economic pain from the outbreak and their nations’ general fatigue with the virus and its constraints. Several have promised no new national lockdowns, even as violent protests erupted in late August in Germany.

Though cases are rising, the death toll has been significantly lower than in the first wave this spring.

Spain has re-emerged as the epicenter of the pandemic on the continent. The country reported 4,503 new infections on Friday, the most since April 23. The number of cases has been climbing since mid-July, and the country now has more per capita than any other European nation.

The total number of cases diagnosed so far rose by 10,476 people to 498,989 on Friday. That overall number is reviewed daily. So often cases diagnosed earlier are added to the the total count, though not to the tally of cases reported from the previous 24 hours.

France reported 8,975 new cases on Friday, the biggest daily increase since the recent outbreak began. The number of people testing positive in France had risen throughout August and accelerated further this week. The previous record high was 7,578 cases on March 31.

The gain is at least partly because France bolstered testing to more than one million a week.

Italy reported 1,733 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the most since May 2. The increase came as daily tests rose to a record 113,085. While that’s well below the 6,557 new infections at the peak of the crisis on March 21, the numbers have been inching up all week.

There were 1,940 new cases in the U.K., the highest since May 30. The total is now 342,351.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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