This morning, Victoria’s two new COVID cases have been overshadowed by the 100,000 discovered in mainland Europe.

 

 

Things are not looking good in Europe. Or India, for that matter. The United States is, still, not seeing any signs of coronavirus abating; and as the northern hemisphere heads towards the harsh, virus-friendly conditions of their winter, it’s only going to get harder to contain.

The Berlin Spectator reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with the heads of Germany’s 15 federated states in what are essentially crisis talks, as the numbers in that country soar. Merkel subsequently told the press that Germany was already in the exponential phase, as the infection numbers showed, and that everything had to be done to stop their growth. 

She said she thought the decisions that had been taken (exit bans for residents of corona hotspots, curfews, a ban on alcohol sales after 11.00pm, mask mandates) were important steps, and  stressed the exponential spread of the Coronavirus needed to be stopped, “Otherwise, all of this will not come to a good end.”

From Prague, Reuters has reported Czech Republic government officials will start building capacity for COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals, including an area for 500 hospital beds at a Prague fairground from Saturday. COVID-19 infections have nearly doubled in October alone to a total so far of 139,290 in a country with a population of 10.7 million. The Health Ministry reported 9,544 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, its highest one-day tally so far.

The Nine newspapers in Australia have picked up Reuters and AP reports from Europe, saying European nations are closing schools, cancelling operations and enlisting legions of student medics, with new cases hitting 100,000 cases a day. 

“Most European governments eased lockdowns over the summer to start reviving economies already battered by the pandemic’s first wave, but the return of normal activity – from packed restaurants to new university terms – has fuelled a sharp spike in cases all over the continent.”

In Portugal, tougher measures to contain the spread will be imposed from Thursday, including stricter limits on gatherings and heavier penalties for rule-breaking establishments. The Netherlands has returned to partial lockdown, closing bars and restaurants, but keeping schools open. In France, health authorities have reported the number of people receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19 has risen above 9100 for the first time since June 25.

 

Smaller numbers, but symptomatic of a broader, wider problem in the US. New York seems to have seen the worst of it, but with little to no travel restrictions in place, an absence of federal mask mandates and an executive branch doling out what seems like fanciful misinformation, it again seems like the worst of what that nation will deal with is well and truly in front of them.

 

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing what could be another national lockdown, with 19,724 new cases reported on Wednesday as hospital admissions climb and field hospitals organised for the first outbreak being started up again. The daily death toll in the UK has recently been in triple digits and shows no signs of abating.

Spanish authorities have ordered bars and restaurants in Catalonia to close for 15 days and has limited the numbers of people allowed in shops. Belgium has the sad distinction of having Europe’s second-worst infection rate per capita and finds itself requiring hospitals having to reserve a quarter of their beds for COVID-19 patients.

Sweden has taken very few lockdown measures in an approach which many have (demonstrably falsely) labelled the ‘gold standard’ of handling the coronavirus outbreak. With 102,000 cases and 5,910 deaths, Sweden (population 10.23 million) has also seen its GDP drop by 8.6% in the June quarter. Comparatively, Australia (population 25 million) has seen 27,362 cases, 904 deaths, and an economy which dropped by 7% in the June quarter.

In the US, currently leading the world in infections (7.98 million, and rising by 50,000+ per day) and deaths (217,000, and rising by something like 800-1000 per day), it’s a challenge to find singular examples of how the battle over the virus is anywhere but over. Deep in the heartland, Wyoming’s Casper Star Tribune has reported a record number of COVID-19 patients having been admitted to Wyoming Medical Center, with 21 of the facility’s 149 total patients receiving treatment for the coronavirus as of Wednesday afternoon.

“The spike in patients has already prompted the Casper hospital to divert patients from outside Natrona County unless they are suffering heart attacks, strokes or traumatic injuries. Seventeen patients Wednesday were being held in the emergency room because of a lack of space elsewhere in the hospital,” the article said.

Smaller numbers, but symptomatic of a broader, wider problem in the US. New York seems to have seen the worst of it, but with little to no travel restrictions in place, an absence of federal mask mandates and an executive branch doling out what seems like fanciful misinformation, it again seems like the worst of what that nation will deal with is well and truly in front of them.

This morning, Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services released the latest infection numbers – as they do every morning. 

 

 

The overnight numbers for this state are two new coronavirus infections and zero deaths. Premier Daniel Andrews is scheduled to announce the next stage of gradual easing of restrictions on Sunday, after more than 100 days of what has been described as the world’s harshest, longest lockdown.

I will, as they say, just leave that right there.

 

 

 

 

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