The battle for Europe has begun
As the outbreak in China seem to subside, the virus has gotten a strong foothold in Europe. As of 29 February, 1 116 cases and 23 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA, the UK, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland. Italy is being hit worst with 888 cases and 21 deaths. Overall, the case fatality rate is 2.1%, but one should remember that there’s likely to be a significant number of undiagnosed cases, and the number of deaths is likely to rise as more patients approach the critical two week mark in the infection.
In Sweden there are now 13 confirmed cases, all with a traceable infection pathway. The majority of these cases are patients returning from Italy or Iran, and secondary cases.
China managed to reverse the outbreak in Wuhan through pouring enormous resources into the battle. New hospitals were constructed in record time and thousands of medical staff were sent to Wuhan from around China, and a strict cerfew was imposed.
Will the EU be able to react with the same determination? Not likely. A strong central autoritarian government is likely to be superior when it comes to emergency response; resources can be quickly be redirected, production shifted to meet demand and use law enforcement to make sure rules are followed.
We are therefore likely to see a much slower and less efficient response in Europe, than that in China. The outbreak will therefore last longer here, and if Italy and/or Iran fails to contain their outbreaks we will probably see uncontrolled spread within a few weeks.