In Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the number of infections has remained at a steady level for the last 14 days. In all the other EU member states, there have been significant decreases in cases with the exception of Bulgaria.
According to Andrea Ammon, the director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Bulgaria is the only EU state in which the pandemic is still on the rise. The UK is still included in the ECDC’s statistics despite leaving the EU.
The ECDC is responsible for analyzing and interpreting data from European Union states concerning 52 contagious diseases. It is currently focusing on the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Globally there have been almost 3.5 million confirmed cases and close to 250,000 deaths.
In Europe, 1.4 million infections have been confirmed. The countries hit the worst by the pandemic are Spain with 217,466 cases, Italy with 210,717, the UK with 186,599, Germany with 163,175, and Russia with 134,687.
Poland has significantly fewer infections, with just 14,000 confirmed cases. According to the ECDC, however, the virus’s spread has not decreased enough to say it is in retreat in Poland.
Ammon explained that the restrictions undertaken by the European governments with lockdowns and social distancing measures decreased the virus’ transmission by 45 percent since April 8, and it seems that the first wave of infections has reached its peak.
She added that several retirement homes and elderly care homes were most severely struck by the virus, with the ratio of deaths in such places exceeding 50 percent of the total death toll.
Ammon also admitted that it is currently unknown whether people who possess antibodies because they survived infection are immune to the virus.
She remained unconvinced on whether wearing standard hygiene masks protected people from the virus.
“There isn’t much evidence pointing to how much wearing masks has contributed to stopping the virus’s spread,” she said.
In Ammon’s view, masks might even increase the risk of infection, as people wearing them often touch their face to fix their mask’s placement. She declared that masks should not be the only measure of preventing the spreading of the disease, but simply one of a range tools directed at that purpose.