First Indications of the Coronavirus Second Wave

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

The onset of tourism and the relaxation of social distancing rules is showing the first indications that a Second Wave of COVID-19 infections is starting.

My assumption, published on July 8, was that this Second Wave would be more prevalent in the fall, as people return to work and school, and as the wider flu season starts.

Before reviewing the daily new cases, some issues we should all consider:

  1. If the trend in new infections continues, how will schools re-open in September?

  2. Has the interim been used to strengthen public and private health systems and increase the number of intensive care units needed? What measures are in place to handle the non-COVID medical case backlog that has been delayed by the Pandemic?

  3. What alternatives are there to a full lockdown? The case of Beijing apparently showed that a second wave could be beaten with a partial lockdown. Are we ready to make the same sacrifices in Europe? Do we have enough testing kits? Do we have an adequate track and trace system?

  4. The EU Pandemic Response Fund of € 750 billion has been hamstrung due to leader obsessions with issues such as the Green Economy and the Digital Economy. While these are worthy objectives, the scale of the COVID crisis means that immediate resources are needed now. Moreover, disbursement will be phased in over at least 3 years, and I estimate that less than 50% of the budget is available for direct COVID response. The only hope for serious fiscal measures remains the European Central Bank, unless something changes.

Every economic indicator shows that the damage to GDP, public expenditure, unemployment, corporate and personal bankruptcies and firm closures is severe.

Nevertheless, several steps should be taken now by governments to prepare themselves financially and to gain the financial resources needed for at least another 12 months of active support programmes.

In Cyprus, 2 months of lockdown cost approximately 10% of GDP in direct public financial support (not all of which has been disbursed). In Greece, the reputed amount is approximately 7.5% of GDP.

Despite all public support, Euro Area GDP is down 12.1% in Q2 2020 over Q1 2020.

So the economic damage is severe and will get worse. Urgent steps are needed.

Now let’s look at the charts: all data has been extracted from the Worldometers coronavirus page on Monday, 3 August 2020 at 08:00.

Cyprus

The increasing number of daily cases at the end of July 2020 has prompted the Ministry of Health to pass new measures, including wearing a mask in public and enclosed areas. Tourist arrivals in June were down by some 95% over June 2020, but arrivals have picked up in July. It remains to be seen how tourism will impact COVID cases, but we are assuming it will through a higher case number.

Greece

The number of daily new cases has been rising and shows a “second wave” amplitude. The total active cases has been higher than it was during the lockdown for most of July. Greece is entering the high point of its tourist season this month (August), and UK arrivals have been taking place since mid-July. Greece is monitoring source market developments, and recently re-instituted the PCR COVID test for travellers from Bulgaria and Romania. However, the lack of testing resources, or their uniform application, will definitely result in coronavirus cases being imported into the country.