While the growth of COVID-19 infections is slowing down in some European countries, others are experiencing an increase in case numbers as they head into their third wave of infections. Between the fall’s second wave and the 2021’s third wave, the trajectory of infection numbers became less clear, as countries were battling virus mutations while lockdown fatigue set in for citizens and politicians alike.
According to numbers by Johns Hopkins University published on Our World in Data, the UK and Spain experienced their third waves early on in the year and in short succession with the fall’s second waves. While the UK’s battle with the B.1.1.7 variant and subsequent successful vaccination campaign made for a stark improvement of the situation, Spain recently saw case numbers rise once more in what would constitute a fourth wave for the country.
France was one of the first in Europe to implement a second lockdown in late October, but was more hesitant during the third wave. The country locked down for a third time in mid-March but even one month later, new case numbers show no real improvement.
Germany is in a similar rut. The country went through two waves without ever coming out of its second lockdown, which started November 1, but was tightened significantly on December 16. A hodgepodge of different rules and restrictions in the federal country made getting a handle on the situation more difficult. Federally sanctioned openings started in early March but were almost instantly reversed.
Italy, which like Spain is relying on a regional lockdown system, imposed a tight temporary Easter lockdown but has recently seen third-wave infection numbers fall again.
The recent surge of infections has made France the fourth-most affected country in the world by absolute case numbers, while the UK has descended to rank six.
This chart shows the 7-day rolling average of daily new COVID-19 cases per million of population in selected European countries (2021).
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