Europe’s top WHO official warns of a second more deadly wave of coronavirus ‘to hit Europe this winter’

Europe’s top WHO official warns of a second more deadly wave of coronavirus ‘to hit Europe this winter’. By Anne Gulland.

Dr Hans Kluge, director for the WHO European region, delivered a stark warning to countries beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions, saying that now is the “time for preparation, not celebration”.

Dr Kluge stressed that, as the number of cases of Covid-19 in countries such as the UK, France and Italy was beginning to fall, it did not mean the pandemic was coming to an end. The epicentre of the European outbreak is now in the east, with the number of cases rising in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, he warned. …

When the Spanish flu first emerged in March 1918, it had the hallmarks of the typical seasonal illness — but it then came back in an even more virulent and deadly form in the autumn, eventually killing an estimated 50 million people.

Troop movements at the end of the First World War are thought to have accelerated the spread of the disease, which also had a third and fourth wave although these were not as devastating.

Here’s a graph of the second wave at Hokkaido, which we mentioned last week. Hokkaido lifted restrictions after just a few intermittent days of zero infections, but the virus took off again and Hokkaido has had to lockdown a second time.