Coronavirus infections are surging again across much of Europe and governments are racing to prevent a full-fledged second wave of the pandemic —without resorting to the kind of broad lockdowns that devastated their economies in the spring.
The seven-day rolling average of reported new daily cases has more than doubled since the end of July in the five largest European countries, nearing 11,000. That is the biggest sustained rise on the continent since it beat back the virus’s initial spike in March and April.
Outbreaks are multiplying around vacation hot spots, shopping centers, parties and some workplaces. Authorities are also reporting that many cases have no known origin, undermining efforts to use contact tracing to contain the virus and indicating relatively wide community spread.
The problem is particularly acute in Spain, where around 4,800 new cases a day were detected on average over the week ending Aug. 17, more than at any point since April. In neighboring France, new daily coronavirus infections surged roughly 50% in the week ending Aug. 17, compared with the prior week, averaging around 2,400 a day and reaching their highest levels since the country emerged from lockdown in May.