Why The World Is More Worried Than Ever About A 2nd Wave
Across Europe and much of the United States, the relaxation of restrictions on coronavirus blocking has given the feeling that the immediate health crisis is over.
Parisians were finally allowed to return to their beloved cafes this week, the insignificant shops in the UK have reopened, and German tourists have flown to Spain to enjoy a sunny vacation.
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France won its "first victory" against the corona virus, President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that the country had "turned the tide".
In New York many people gathered in front of bars over the weekend to enjoy drinks, sunshine and the company of friends.
Even as people begin to celebrate a return to normal, the past few days have given troubling reminders that the pandemic is not over and the virus can return immediately, even if daily cases drop to zero.
In China, an outbreak of coronavirus infections related to a large Beijing food market has raised fears of a second wave of COVID-19. Over 100 cases have been identified in the past week, and the city has put in place strict restrictions, closed schools, and closed residential areas to curb the spread.
Beijing's two airports canceled more than 1,000 flights after the outbreak, and the city urged its 21 million residents to avoid unnecessary trips outside the city.
Last week, New Zealand lifted its restrictions entirely, except for border controls, after health officials declared the country virus free - one of the first countries in the world to eliminate COVID-19 and return to pre-pandemic conditions.
However, the celebrations have proven to be short-lived.
Workers disinfect the Yuegezhuang wholesale market in Beijing on June 16, 2020 after an outbreak of the corona virus. (Photo: Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)
On Tuesday, New Zealand announced that two women who flew from London to see a dying parent were released from quarantine early and then tested positive for the coronavirus - a violation of the quarantine protocol that forced health authorities to take hundreds tracked down by people They may have come into contact with the virus and tested it for it.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as "unacceptable failure," and the country's military is now intervening to monitor the quarantine process.
The highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases was reported on Tuesday in the United States, Texas, Arizona and Florida. All three states quickly lifted home stay orders to stop the spread of infections.
The numbers come from the ongoing efforts of President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders to downplay the continued spread of the virus. In at least 21 countries, the number of new cases has increased in the past two weeks as a large part of the country is reopened.
Vice President Mike Pence painted a rosy - and misleading - portrait of the US government's response to the corona virus in a comment published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, in which he urged all 50 states to begin reopening in a "safe and responsible environment" praised sage. "
Dr. However, Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested that this is not the case in an interview with NPR on Tuesday.
"There were certainly states that did not strictly follow the guidelines that we set for the reopening of America," said Fauci. "There were fairly well-defined gateway criteria, followed by phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3."
He added: "There were clearly states that - left to their own decision - opened to varying degrees ... certainly before they reached the benchmarks they needed."
On June 7, 2020, people drink outdoors in bars and restaurants in New York's Hells Kitchen. (Photo: BRYAN R. SMITH via Getty Images)
Similarly, other leading health authorities around the world have warned that coronavirus infections could increase rapidly as the ban on restrictions is lifted and people become less vigilant.
"More than six months after the pandemic started, this is not the time for a country to pull off the pedal," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organization, told reporters last week.
With the number of coronavirus cases approaching 8 million, it is clear that the pandemic is "far from over," said the WHO chair.
"Oh my goodness. Where will it end? We are still beginning to understand," said Fauci at a conference last week. In just four months, the virus "devastated the whole world," he said. "And it is not yet past."
Officials are particularly concerned that lifting the restrictions too quickly before a robust test and contact tracking system is in place could be a recipe for disaster.
Hans Kluge, WHO director for Europe, told The Guardian this week that Britain is in a "very active phase of the pandemic" and restrictions should not be eased further until the country's contact tracking system improves.
"Tracing contacts is particularly important as Britain begins to relax social and physical distance measures," said Kluge. "Instead of the operation, a robust Track & Trace system must be available."
The recent outbreaks should be a warning to world leaders and the general public that life without a vaccine may never return to normal and the way forward requires everyone to take a new path between complete closure and complete freedom .
Fernando Simón, director of the Health Warning and Emergency Coordination Center at the Spanish Ministry of Health, warned this week that coronavirus infections could increase quickly if citizens give up their vigilance.
"If we relax more than we should, there could be a relatively quick resurgence that could be compounded by the arrival of tourists," Simón warned Spain.
"This could happen, we don't know if it will happen or not. We cannot rule out excessive relaxation at some point. It is in everyone's hands that this does not happen in the summer, but we can do not exclude. "
With reports from HuffPost UK, HuffPost France and HuffPost Spain.
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