In fact, Europe’s second wave of coronavirus infections has struck well before the start of the flu season and in wake of a widespread case of a “pandemic fatigue”.
The continent is also seeing a greater number of bars shutting down in key cities including those in Paris and its surroundings.
Record high daily infections in several eastern European countries and sharp rebounds in the hard-hit west have made clear that Europe never really crushed the Covid-19 curve as hoped, after springtime lockdowns.
Spain this week declared a state of emergency for Madrid amid increasing tensions between local and national authorities over virus containment measures.
Germany offered up soldiers to help with contact tracing in newly flaring hotspots. Italy mandated masks outdoors and warned that for the first time since the country became the European epicenter of the pandemic, the health system was facing “significant critical issues” as hospitals fill up.
The Czech Republic’s “Farewell Covid” party in June, when thousands of Prague residents dined outdoors at a 500-meter (yard) long table across the Charles Bridge to celebrate their victory over the virus, seems painfully naive now that the country has the highest per-capita infection rate on the continent, at 398 per 100,000 residents.
“I have to say clearly that the situation is not good," the Czech Interior Minister, Jan Hamacek, acknowledged this week.
Epidemiologists and residents alike are pointing the finger at governments for having failed to seize on the summertime lull in cases to prepare adequately for the expected autumn onslaught, with testing and ICU staffing still critically short.