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A global view of the worsening coronavirus crisis

Across the globe, new cases of the coronavirus have climbed to an all-time high of more than 330,000 per day. Continental Europe is facing unprecedented spread, but conditions are worsening in the United Kingdom and in parts of Latin America, as well. Nick Schifrin and special correspondents Lucy Hough, Malcolm Brabant and Mary Triny Mena have a worldwide look at the worsening pandemic.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Worldwide, coronavirus cases have climbed to an all-time high of more than 330,000 per day. Europe is facing unprecedented cases, with spikes in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Poland.

    We look at conditions on the continent, in the United Kingdom, as well as Latin America.

    Nick Schifrin is back to begin our worldwide wrap.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    For months, Europe had COVID in check. Today, the continent faces a reckoning.

  • Karl Lauterbach:

    The second wave in Europe is major. It's a huge wave.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Dr. Karl Lauterbach is one of Germany's leading epidemiologists and a member of the German Bundestag. He says the continent is especially vulnerable because it has an older population.

  • Karl Lauterbach:

    That is the reason why I think that the second wave is a big problem for us in Europe and all big cities Europe.

  • Lucy Hough:

    This is Lucy Hough in Brussels.

    Tough new measures in Belgium, where a curfew has just been imposed from midnight to 5:00 a.m. and people must work from home. Bars and restaurants have now been closed nationwide for a month.

    It comes as the number of people being admitted to intensive is doubling every twelve days.

    Health officials are warning that, if the current rate of hospital admission continues, Belgium's 2,000 intensive care beds could be full by mid-November.

    Taking stock with new restrictions now a reality. This brewery in Brussels was hit hard by weeks of closure in the spring, but so far has kept afloat. With Belgium consumed by a second wave of the virus, uncertainty and anxiety have returned.

  • Sebastien Morvan:

    We're not looking with a lot of excitement, as you can imagine, to a second full lockdown.

  • Lucy Hough:

    France has once again declared a state of emergency, with a strict curfew imposed in nine cities between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. In Paris, the total saturation of the region's hospital beds could come by the end of next week. The curfew is stricter than some anticipated.

  • Catherine (through translator):

    It's a good solution to end group meetings in close contact. If it avoids stopping the economy and life in general, why not?

  • Emilie (through translator):

    It means we just go to work and go home, so we have less of a social life, and it feels complicated.

  • Lucy Hough:

    In the Spanish capital, Madrid, millions are under partial lockdown, as case numbers surge. Nonessential travel is banned, restaurants are under curfew and limited to 50 percent capacity.

    There has been local opposition to the measures, but the Spanish government is standing firm.

    In Germany, case numbers are higher than ever, and hit 6,500 today, but varying local restrictions in its 16 states are causing confusion. The German government has warned citizens, if they don't follow the rules, the restrictions will increase.

  • Karl Lauterbach:

    If you do not see markedly different behavior, we will ultimately have to crack down on the restaurants, the bars, the pubs.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    This is Malcolm Brabant in England, where COVID has exposed the country's North-South divide. The Northwest has the highest rate of infections. The government wanted to reply the top tier of new restrictions, limiting socializing, and forcing hundreds of pubs to shut.

    But Manchester's Mayor Andy Burnham refuses to comply.

  • Andy Burnham:

    They are asking us to gamble our residents' jobs, homes and businesses and a large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    That puts him on collision course with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who believes regional lockdowns are Britain's best medicine.

  • Boris Johnson:

    If an agreement cannot be reached, I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester's hospitals and save the lives of Manchester's residents.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    Breaking COVID laws can have dire consequences. Worried about going bust, owner Nick Whitcombe refused to close his Northern gym and tasted draconian punishment.

  • Nick Whitcombe:

    So, they have issued the fine. The first one is 1,000. They can come back in three hours, issue 2,000, three hours after that, 4,000.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    With infections reaching 23,000 a day, Sir Keir Starmer, now leading the opposition Labor Party, demanded a new national lockdown lasting two to three weeks.

  • Keir Starmer:

    The government has not got a credible plan to slow infection.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    From midnight tonight, London will be subject to a second-level lockdown that will bar different families from socializing, and there's a 10:00 p.m. curfew.

    Sixty miles south, at the Station Hotel in Brighton, where safety measures are rigorously maintained, Steve Platel fears another lockdown. The last one cost him thousands in lost revenue, and he had to lay off half his stuff.

  • Steve Platel:

    Well, I don't have any confident at the moment. We're just waiting to see what the next disaster is, really. It doesn't seem to be getting any better.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    With the economy tanking, opinion polls consistently show that the British public is losing faith in Boris Johnson.

    And, today, the biggest-selling conservative newspaper turned on him in an editorial, saying that his incoherent policies have turned a crisis into an epidemic of madness.

  • Mary Triny Mena:

    Halfway across the world, Latin Americans face a COVID crisis.

    This is Mary Triny Mena in Caracas.

    Sixty-one-year-old street vendor Joel Gil should be at home because of Venezuela's quarantine, but he says, if he doesn't work, he will starve.

  • Joel Gil (through translator):

    I need to work. I always try to earn something, so I can pay for my food.

  • Mary Triny Mena:

    For millions of Latin Americans, lockdown orders mean no income. Many of them depend on community kitchens that provide one meal, sometimes the only meal a day.

    Governments throughout Latin America face a double challenge, limiting the spread of the virus and its economic devastation.

    Five of the 10 countries in the world with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection and the most death from it are located in Latin America.

  • Epidemiologist Alejandro Risquez:

  • Alejandro Risquez (through translator):

    The measures taken in each country have had completely different repercussions. There are countries where the measures are really strict, but, in others, they are much more relaxed.

  • Mary Triny Mena:

    Brazil, with the worst infection and death rates, has had no lockdown, and its president throughout has made light of the virus, even when he got sick.

    Mexico's government played town the pandemic too early on. Peru implemented a strict lockdown, but many people did not comply. Like the rest of the world, Latin America is waiting for a vaccine. Meanwhile, COVID survivors in Caracas are donating plasma for experimental treatment.

  • Migalia Rondon (through translator):

    I was lucky to have mild symptoms, and now I'm lucky to help others to fight the disease.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    But it will take more than luck to get us through this global crisis. Scientists warn, cases could increase five-fold as the weather gets colder and people gather inside.

  • Karl Luaterbach:

    At the wintertime, we will have a major challenge, and we are currently seeing the beginning of that.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    And that means the world faces a difficult winter after what has already been a difficult, long year.

    With Lucy Hough, Malcolm Brabant, and Mary Triny Mena, I'm Nick Schifrin for the "PBS NewsHour."

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