The Second Wave of Coronavirus Causes the Number of Sick, Older People to Rise Yet Again.

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Jacob Nguyen

As of recently, Europe is entering the second wave of the Coronavirus, and the amount of older people getting infected is growing once again. Over the summer, cases of the Coronavirus have been mostly from younger people in Europe. Though this wasn’t ideal, it meant that there were fewer deaths to the Coronavirus because younger people are statistically less vulnerable. However, at least 13 countries recently in Europe have seen new infection rates for people over the age of 65. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned of increasing infection rates, and they have labeled this increase as a “high.” 

 

This sharp increase can be seen in almost every country in Europe where statistics are available. In some Eastern countries, the infection rates of people over 65 has doubled since the first wave. Examples of these countries include: Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary. This increase is especially worrying when older people are much more likely to be in critical condition. They are significantly more likely to end up in the hospital and dying. According to the World Health Organization, people over the age of 65 account for over 88% of all deaths in Europe. In the Czech Republic, people over 65 made up for only 14% of the cases, but 94% of deaths. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the number of cases for people over 60 has quadrupled in the UK from early September.

The deputy chief medical officer for England, said that the amount of infections that would normally be seen for young people were “creeping up” to the older ages. Germany’s center for disease control, noted that the proportion of cases for older ages has been increasing since early September. France has also had a startling increase of three times the cases for people over 65, according to the French Health Agency. The data in Spain has shown that the median age for the infected has risen from 37 to 39 in late August. 

A study of the outbreak in the Southern United States in June suggests a possible explanation for this increase. As the virus spread to the younger generation, it spilled into the people of the older generation, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Jennifer Cole, from Royal Holloway, University of London, said that the Coronavirus cases from younger age groups were not “contained”, and the spread of the virus could be from multi-generational homes. 

Many European countries are now under pressure to prevent health care systems from being overloaded. Due to the spike in cases, Ireland has announced an imposed six-week lockdown. The Czech Republic went into lockdown a week prior, and Belgium introduced a curfew between the times of 12a.m. and 6p.m.  Many other countries in Europe are also taking immediate actions to slow down the spread.

There is still a question that remains, could this be the beginning of an increase of cases for older people around the globe? Landon Pillar, a Sophomore at Hamilton High School responds, “Yes, I do think that will happen across the world because recent studies have shown that immunity can go away after a certain amount of time, and people are starting to become careless again as they are becoming more and more impatient with the situation as time goes on.” As we gain more information on the virus, we must have the ability to adapt to our current situation, and do our part in following the rules for social distancing to keep ourselves and others safe.