The official stresses the “characteristics of the virus” in terms of its transmissibility and the low immunity of the population in several countries – between 2 and 14 percent – leaves a large part of the population susceptible to the new coronavirus in a possible second wave of the pandemic.
“The virus is all around us, much more than in January or February. I don’t want to draw an apocalyptic scenario, but I think we need to be realistic ”, stresses Andrea Ammon.
The ECDC director notes, however, that a possible second wave is not inevitable if people continue to abide by the rules and recommendations.
The warning comes at a time when several European governments continue to lift some of the restrictions in place since March, at the beginning of the outbreak in most countries. In Portugal, the deflation started on 4 May and a progressive extension is planned every two weeks, until 1 June.
At the beginning of the month, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control considered that the initial wave of transmission of Covid-19 in Europe had already been overcome in almost all countries.
Governments “underestimated” the pandemic
In the interview with the British newspaper, the ECDC official assures that the organization warned the governments of Europe at the end of January, advising on strengthening the capacities of health systems, namely in terms of beds and the capacity of intensive care units.
“I think that governments have underestimated the speed of increase in the number of patients,” says Andrea Ammon.
The official also believes that the battle against the new coronavirus will be long. “I don’t know if it will be forever, but I think it will not disappear quickly. [O vírus] it seems to be very well adapted to human beings ”.
Andrea Ammon finally recognizes that faster action by Governments could have saved lives, but that it was not understood in time.
“I believe that if we had taken measures earlier, this could have been possible. But these measures are so rigid, so against our experience … I think it was necessary, unfortunately, that the situation in northern Italy made it evident that they were necessary measures ”, admitted the director of ECDC, recalling that the containment measures adopted in China even during the month of January they were considered “impractical” in Europe by many experts.
In the minutes of the meeting to which the Spanish daily had access, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control considered the risk of Covid-19 for the European population to be “low”. At the time, the agency considered that the local contagions were “mild” and were under surveillance by health authorities.
As of Wednesday in the countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, more than 158,000 people had died from Covid-19. So far, the countries most affected in terms of the number of deaths have been the United Kingdom, Italy and France.