Spain Overtakes Britain for Most COVID-19 Cases in Europe

More than 20 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide as of Monday night, and Spain has overtaken Britain for the highest number of cases in Western Europe. Partly to blame, some Spanish health experts say, is that the government doesn’t have enough qualified contract tracers.  “Some regions have not understood that this was the key in the months after the lockdown and in the long term,” said Ildefonso Hernandez Aguado, a public health professor at Alicante’s Miguel Hernandez University.  He also blamed Spanish society for its eagerness to celebrate holidays and other events with large gatherings, saying, “This is a country that doesn’t understand holding a celebration or taking a holiday if you’re not going to share them.” The government defended its response.  “Appropriate measures are being taken to control the pandemic in coordination” with the regions, the government said in a statement, after experts questioned its policies. “The data shows that we are being very active in tracking and detecting the virus.” According to Johns Hopkins University, Spain has nearly 323,000 COVID-19 cases while Britain has recorded 313,000. More than 28,000 people have died from the disease in Spain and more than 46,000 have died in Britain.  Spain, one of the world’s hot spots early in the pandemic before imposing strict lockdowns and other measures, has seen a surge in the number of cases since lifting most measures instituted to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which causes COIVD-19. From an average daily infections tally of 132 cases in June, Spain has counted some 1,500 per day in the first 10 days of August.People wearing face masks wait their turn to be called for a PCR test for the COVID-19 at Vilafranca del Penedes in the Barcelona province, Spain, August 10, 2020.Both Spain and the Britain trail the United States in the number of COVID-19 cases — more than 5 million – and deaths – 163,000. Florida, one of the U.S.’s hardest hit states, broke its own record last week for the number of coronavirus hospitalizations, The Orlando Sentinel newspaper reports. Hospitals throughout Florida admitted 3,355 COVID-19 patients between August 2 and August 9. Florida has counted 536,961 cases and 8,408 deaths cases since the beginning of the pandemic, trailing only California, which has 568,000 confirmed cases and 10,378 deaths.  Medical officials in Florida blamed Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying he was more interested in gaining favor with President Donald Trump than taking measures such a statewide requirement for wearing face masks. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association have reported a large increase in the number of children sickened by the coronavirus last month. Nearly 100,000 youngsters became ill in the last two weeks of July. A woman with her children, wearing face masks amid the spread of the new coronavirus, wait at a health center in the Juan Diaz neighborhood, an area with high contagion levels of COVID-19, in Panama City, July 16, 2020.The coronavirus is relatively mild in children, but they can still pass the virus to older people, including the elderly who are much more susceptible, according to doctors. New Jersey police broke up a house party over the weekend where nearly 300 people were celebrating. The state has limited the number of people allowed to gather indoors to 25. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lashed out at the crowds packing bars in the state’s beach towns. The governor has criticized what he calls “knucklehead behavior” by those who won’t wear masks or practice social distancing for a rise in COVID-19 cases in the state. Nearly 50 public health officials across the U.S. have either been fired or quit since April under pressure from politicians and others resisting their calls for coronavirus restrictions, according to the Associated Press news service. Some of those officials said had been threatened with violence for advocating for lockdowns and masks.  Others were simply burned out. The former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, calls the number of experts quitting their jobs “stunning.”  “The overall tone toward public health in the U.S. is so hostile that it has kind of emboldened people to make these attacks,” Frieden said. The latest to give up their positions are senior government health experts in California and New York City.  President Trump threw his support behind playing the college football season despite COVID-19. “The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” he tweeted Monday. Some large schools have canceled their seasons while others have not yet decided what they will do. Nebraska’s Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who is a former president of Midland University, says the season should go on.  “This is a moment for leadership. These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football,” the senator said. Spanish actor Antonio Banderas spent his 60th birthday Monday in quarantine after announcing he has the coronavirus.  “I would like to add that I am relatively well, just a little more tired than usual and hoping to recover as soon as possible following medical instructions that I hope will allow me to overcome the infection that I and so many people in the world are suffering from,” he wrote on Instagram.  He says he plans to spend his time in recovery reading and writing. 

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