Although there is a growing sense of optimism throughout the world surrounding the containment of the COVID-19 crisis, it is important to note that the virus is still surging in some parts of Europe. The worries of a fourth wave of the virus are growing as the more infectious COVID-19 variants begin to pop up in many regions throughout the continent.

Bollate Epicenter of New Surge

An example of the havoc being caused by the new variants is what is happening in the Bollate region of northern Italy. This city in Lombardy was also the epicenter of the country’s first three surges. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Bollate is behind another increase in infections throughout Europe. The new variants powering this surge are the highly contagious strains that were first found in Brazil and South Africa.

Cases on the Rise

Europe reported one million new confirmed cases of the virus last week. This number represents an increase of 9% over the past week. Unfortunately for those weary of the virus, this increase ended a six-week decline that had been fueling the optimism around the world.

Variants Not Only Issue to Blame

The highly transmissible UK variant is now the dominant strain in at least 10 countries, including Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain, and Portugal. This particular variant is up to 50% more contagious than the strains seen last spring, summer, and fall. While the prevalence of the new variants are being blamed for the increase in cases, health officials caution that it is also the loosening of restrictions that may be causing the latest surge.