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1ST WAVE OF THE PANDEMIC (FEB TO MAY 2020)

LOWMEDIUMHIGH

In the map above, Europe is grouped in three major areas described by the level of the death per million index. During the first wave of the pandemic and specifically during the months of February 2020 to May 2020, Western Europe was majorly hit by COVID-19 and presents the higher death per million indices. Taking into account the socioeconomic status of the countries, as well as the ways the countries responded with special measures to the pandemic, we can suggest some explanations for these observations.

The table below presents the data concerning the first COVID-19 case date for each country, the date each country reached 100 cases, the days elapsed between these two dates and finally the dates elapsed between the 100 cases date and the date lockdown measures were imposed. We notice that the virus first arrived in prosperous countries with the highest numbers of arrivals in their airports.

For example, in Belgium the first COVID-19 case was recorded on the 4rth of February 2020, while many neighboring countries took more than twenty days to record the first case. We can also see that in most of the countries in the red group, more than a month passed before they reached one hundred (100) cases. During this period, most probably the virus achieved a substantial spread before any special measures were even considered.

In the rest of countries where the virus arrived with delay, there was enough time for awareness and preparation. As a consequence, many of these countries proceeded with lockdowns without any delay and prevented the spread of the virus.

CountryDate of
First Case
Date of
100th Case
Days to
100th Case
Date of
Lockdown
Days to Lock down
from 100th Case
France25/1/20201/3/20203616/3/202015
Germany28/1/20201/3/20203321/3/202020
Italy31/1/202024/2/2020248/3/202013
Russia1/2/202018/3/20204628/3/202010
Spain1/2/20202/3/20203013/3/202011
United Kingdom1/2/20204/3/20203224/3/202020
Belgium4/2/20205/3/20203018/3/202013
Sweden5/2/20207/3/202031  
Austria26/2/20209/3/20201216/3/20207
Croatia26/2/202020/3/20202318/4/202029
Switzerland26/2/20207/3/20201023/3/202016
Denmark27/2/202010/3/20201218/3/20208
Greece27/2/202013/3/20201523/3/202010
North Macedonia27/2/202023/3/2020254/6/202073
Norway27/2/20207/3/20209  
Romania27/2/202015/3/20201730/3/202015
Belarus28/2/202031/3/202032  
Estonia28/2/202015/3/20201630/3/202015
Lithuania28/2/202022/3/20202327/5/202066
Netherlands28/2/20207/3/20208  
Iceland29/2/202013/3/202013  
Ireland1/3/202015/3/20201428/3/202013
Luxembourg1/3/202018/3/20201716/3/2020-2
Czechia2/3/202013/3/20201116/3/20203
Latvia3/3/202021/3/202018  
Portugal3/3/202014/3/2020113/4/202020
Poland4/3/202015/3/20201124/3/20209
Ukraine4/3/202026/3/20202215/3/2020-11
Hungary5/3/202021/3/20201617/3/2020-4
Liechtenstein5/3/202021/8/2020169  
Slovenia5/3/202014/3/2020919/3/20205
Bosnia and Herzegovina6/3/202023/3/202017  
Malta7/3/202023/3/202016  
Serbia7/3/202020/3/2020132/4/202013
Slovakia7/3/202019/3/2020128/4/202020
Bulgaria8/3/202020/3/20201213/3/2020-7
Moldova8/3/202024/3/2020168/4/202015
Albania9/3/202024/3/2020152/4/20209
Cyprus10/3/202024/3/20201424/3/20200

Prosperity Index 2019

Western EuropeEastern Europe0102030405060708090

Airport Passengers 2019 (Million)

020406080100120140160180200Inc. BergamoWestern EuropeEastern Europe

Prosperous countries, which in most cases have a high mobility in their airports, were among the first to be hit by the pandemic, for one more reason. They probably delayed their decisions on taking aggressive measures against COVID-19, under the fear that such decisions could slow down their economies. This ambivalence may resulted in a high spread of the virus with dramatic results.

Population Density

Western EuropeEastern Europe0100200300400500600