Map shows how fast the second wave of COVID is spreading through Europe

Emily Cleary
·5 min read
Katie Ffolloitt-Powell of the Patient Transport Services of South Central Ambulance Services speaks to an elderly non-COVID-19 patient as she is moved from hospital to a care home, in Portsmouth, Britain May 5, 2020. Picture taken May 5, 2020. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
The UK has one of the highest increase in coronavirus death rates in Europe (Leon Neal/Pool via Reuters)

A new map revals the rise in coronavirus deaths across Europe and shows how fast the second wave of COVID-19 is spreading across the continent.

The data, published by Our World in Data and shared by the group’s founder Max Roser on Twitter, highlights the countries with the highest increase in COVID-19 deaths up to 30 October.

The week by week change of confirmed COVID-19 deaths measures the percentage change in the number of confirmed deaths over seven days, compared to the previous seven days.

The countries in red have seen a 50-100% increase - these include the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

The dark red areas indicate an increase of up to 300%.

Light blue and blue shaded countries have seen decreases in the number of confirmed deaths due to COVID.

Graphics illustrate the rise in COVID-19 deaths across Europe in recent weeks (Our World in Data)
A newly published map illustrates the rise in COVID-19 deaths across Europe in the past week (Our World in Data)

Belgium has seen the highest number of recorded deaths per million people, with Spain second and the UK third.

Belgium’s health minister last week warned that the country was on the verge of a COVID 'tsunami'.

Frank Vandenbroucke warned that the situation in Brussels was the “most dangerous in all of Europe”, with infection rates spiralling out of control.

His comments came as new restrictions were imposed including the closure of all bars and restaurants and the introduction of a midnight curfew nationwide.

“We are really very close to a tsunami,” he told broadcaster RTL. “We no longer control what is happening.”

Graphics illustrate the rise in COVID-19 deaths across Europe in recent weeks (Our World in Data)
Belgium shows the highest death rate per million of the population, followed by Spain and then the UK (Our World in Data)

Friday’s figures come in the week that France entered its second national lockdown, with Germany preparing to do the same for the month of November.

Roser, a University of Oxford researcher, published the information on the Our World in Data website, which also offers insight into the number of confirmed cases according to country, although it is stressed that the number of confirmed cases is lower than the number of actual cases; the main reason for that being limited testing.

The figures raise fears of a second national lockdown in England, with Boris Johnson coming under increasing pressure to impose tighter restrictions nationwide as infections rise.

On Friday the UK’s R rate revealed that the continued spread of coronavirus was still at epidemic proportions, with “widespread growth” across Britain.

COVID-19 sign against view of Grand Place (Grote Markt) in Brussels, Belgium. Warning about pandemic in Croatia. Coronavirus disease. COVID-2019 alert sign
Belgium's health minister has warned that the country faces a COVID 'tsunami' unless infections rates can be brought under control (Getty images)

England has around 51,900 new coronavirus cases per day, Office for National Statistics figures showed.

The ONS infection survey, published on Friday morning, suggested there were an estimated 568,100 people in England with COVID-19 between October 17 and 23 - the latest dates for which data is available - equating to around one in 100 people.

However, data from Imperial College London’s Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (React) study estimates there could be as many as 96,000 new infections of coronavirus per day, and has found early signs that numbers in low-risk areas are following trends observed in the worst-affected regions.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health, said: "We are in a critical period of the second wave of the epidemic.

Watch: Coronavirus: Second COVID-19 wave faster than the first, warns top European scientist

"We are seeing an increasing rate in the virus in all regions.

"Whatever is happening – be it behaviour (of the public) or implementation of current policy – it has not been sufficient to turn down that rate of increase."

The study took tens of thousands of randomly selected people and tested whether or not they have symptoms roughly every month.

The results, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, show 96,000 people a day are being infected, almost as many as at the peak of the first wave.

Boris Johnson has been widely criticised for not imposing a second nationwide lockdown in England, as is happening in neighbouring Wales and Ireland.

World Health Organization scientist Dr David Nabarro has suggested the government is repeating mistakes made during its response to the first coronavirus wave earlier this year.

Pedestrians and shoppers, some wearing face masks as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus, walk in the high street in west London on October 11, 2020. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline the new regime on Monday as rates of Covid 19 infection surge particularly in the north, worsening a national death toll of more than 42,000 which is already the worst in Europe. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain has one of the highest deaths rates of coronavirus in Europe, but the UK government are standing firm against appeals for a second nationwide lockdown (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

Navarro said this week that ‘political’ factors are getting in way of ‘robust and rapid action’ to tackle the spread of the virus.

Nabarro told the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus: “Countries that prevaricated a bit as the virus started coming in have got much more virus around in their societies, much more opportunity for spreading events to take place, than countries which moved incredibly quickly… when they first had cases.

“That, I’m afraid, is the problem that the UK, the US and several other countries have got because they just did not get on top of it as others like New Zealand and China were able to do.”

Asked if the UK still has the same problem, Dr Nabarro said: “Yes. Oh yeah.

"Britain is still, in style, relatively slow and the current situation is that there is resistance to taking the kind of robust and rapid action that is necessary for a mix of political reasons.”

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