With nearly 300,000 cases detected on Wednesday, the European continent has passed the peak of the second wave. This is not yet the case, however, for the countries of the European Union alone.
“The fifth wave is here», Warned Gabriel Attal, Wednesday November 17th. “The incidence rate is now greater than 100 throughout the territory“, With a progression”around 40 to 50% per week for two weeks now», Specified the spokesperson of the government. For several weeks, a new wave of Covid-19 seems to overwhelm France, but even more so its European neighbors. Some of them have also returned to drastic restrictions: confinement for unvaccinated people in Austria, proof of compulsory vaccination in Germany to enter restaurants, bars or sports halls, a curfew in the Nederlands…
According to the curves calculated by Our World in Data, Europe even reached its record for daily contaminations on Wednesday, November 17. With 299,582 people tested positive on average over seven days on this date, the continent exceeded its last highest peak, reached on November 8, 2020. In the middle of the second wave at the time, 287,103 positive cases had been detected, still on average over seven days. On the smaller scale of the European Union, on the other hand, the peak has not yet been exceeded, even if the curve has been steeply progressing since 1er November. To date, 188,467 positive cases have been detected on average over seven days, compared to 218,732 on November 8.
It should absolutely be specified that these are the cases of contamination detected and not all the contaminations. However, due to the very low number of screening tests available during the first wave, it barely appears on the curves of Our World in Data, which is of course a considerable bias. There is therefore nothing to exclude that the actual number of current cases is not lower than the peak of the first wave at the beginning of the year 2020.
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A lower death ratio in the EU than in Europe
Despite everything, statistics clearly show that Europe has entered a “fifth wave»Contamination. Word “confinement»Comes back unpleasantly in recent days. But the number of cases does not allow us to measure the health consequences of such an epidemic rebound. To understand the impact, we must of course observe a more evocative indicator: the number of deaths. First observation: if Europe has exceeded its previous record in number of contaminations and the European Union is not far from it, they have not crossed the bar of their previous record in number of deaths. At the height of the crisis, the continent had 5,606 deaths on January 25, on average over seven days, and the European Union 3,519 on the same day.
Moreover, what if we compare the number of deaths at the time of the contamination records mentioned above? Here again, the curves differ between Europe and the European Union. Across the continent, 3,799 people have died from Covid-19 as of November 17, 2021, on average over seven days. Against 3664 on November 8, 2020, previous peak of contamination. Or an equivalent ratio (1.2%) between the two dates. For the European Union, on the other hand, the death ratio is lower today than on November 8: 1,562 deaths on average over seven days on November 17 against 2,659 during the peak of the second wave, i.e. 0.8% respectively. and 1.2%. The study of the curves of Our World in Data confirms a trend: if, at the peak of the second wave, contaminations and deaths progressed almost symmetrically between Europe and the European Union, this is no longer the case today, with a death rate lower than that of contaminations.
A difference that can be explained by the different vaccination coverage rate? In the European Union, 66% of the population is fully vaccinated, compared to 57% across the European continent. A difference of 9% larger than it seems, since these 57% take into account the countries of the EU. We can see this by observing the vaccination rate of certain Eastern European countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina (22%), Russia (36%) or even Serbia (44%). As we showed in Le Figaro As of Wednesday, all scientific studies agree that the probability of dying from Covid is much lower for people who have been vaccinated. The situation remains complicated at the level of the continent, to say the least.