As parts of Europe have been hit with a second wave of the coronavirus in recent weeks, hospitals are scrambling to prepare for an onrush of Covid-19 patients at a time when bed and intensive care capacity will already be under strain during the winter flu season.
Poland has turned its largest stadium into an emergency field hospital. In Belgium and Britain, the numbers of Covid-19 patients have doubled in two weeks. And in the Czech Republic, doctors and nurses are falling ill at an alarming rate.
Europe’s current wave of infection is due in part to the relative normalcy it experienced this summer. Unlike in the United States, where the epidemic rose to a second peak in July and a third peak this month, travelers moved around Europe, college students returned to campus and many large gatherings resumed, all while the virus kept spreading.
Data released Thursday shows that the pandemic’s grip on Europe is still dangerous, and measures to control the spread of the virus over the next few weeks will be crucial in preventing hospitals from becoming overrun for a second time this year.