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Why now is the right time to reopen

Dan O'Brien


The world has flattened the Covid curve. Europe has done even better. Now is the right time to open up, writes Dan O'Brien

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WUHAN, CHINA - JUNE 25: (CHINA OUT)  Women wear traditional Chinese clothes during Dragon Boat Festival holiday at the Ocean Park on June 25, 2020 in Wuhan, China. Since June 13 the response level of public health emergencies in Hubei Province has been reduced to level 3. Wuhan's health commission said that the city had no asymptomatic cases as of June 15, and there are no more close contacts under medical observation. (Photo by Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

WUHAN, CHINA - JUNE 25: (CHINA OUT) Women wear traditional Chinese clothes during Dragon Boat Festival holiday at the Ocean Park on June 25, 2020 in Wuhan, China. Since June 13 the response level of public health emergencies in Hubei Province has been reduced to level 3. Wuhan's health commission said that the city had no asymptomatic cases as of June 15, and there are no more close contacts under medical observation. (Photo by Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

Getty Images

WUHAN, CHINA - JUNE 25: (CHINA OUT) Women wear traditional Chinese clothes during Dragon Boat Festival holiday at the Ocean Park on June 25, 2020 in Wuhan, China. Since June 13 the response level of public health emergencies in Hubei Province has been reduced to level 3. Wuhan's health commission said that the city had no asymptomatic cases as of June 15, and there are no more close contacts under medical observation. (Photo by Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

The half-way point of 2020 is at hand. It is a good time to take stock of a year which nobody will forget in a hurry and one which will reverberate for a long time to come.

If there is good news right now it is that the world has flattened the Covid curve, as the chart above shows. Both new confirmed cases and deaths on a daily basis across the planet, according to data compiled by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), point to the pandemic being contained, for now at least.

Indeed, global deaths from the disease have actually declined from their peak. On April 16, when the coronavirus was tearing through Europe, just over 10,000 died of (or with) Covid across the world - the daily peak so far. In the week to last Friday, daily deaths averaged just over 5,000 a day worldwide. While there may be some inaccuracies in the figures, even the poorest countries have some system for counting deaths, so the halving of the daily death toll over the past two months is a real trend (which is not to say that it might not be reversed).