COVID spread worse than spring: French scientist

The COVID-19 virus is spreading more quickly in the second wave than during its initial outbreak in the spring.

That's the warning from French government scientific advisor Arnaud Fontanet on Friday (October 23).

"All of Europe had a week of cold weather - and all the indicators went the wrong way again all over Europe. We realized that the virus spreads more in the cold, and we expected that but we expected it much later. And this was seen all over France and Europe - maybe with the exception of Bordeaux, which is resisting."

The epidemiologist spoke on the day that France will go over the one million reported case threshold.

The country will become the second Western European country to do that after Spain.

Like many other European countries, France has ramped up restrictions to contain the disease.

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday (October 22) that a curfew will be widened to cover more than two thirds of its population.

He warned that, quote, "the month of November will be grueling", as hospital services go through a rough time and the number of deaths continue to rise.

Fontanet echoed the prime minister, adding that first time around, the authorities had managed to bring the virus under control by the end of June.

But the low hospitalizations figure until the end of August had given a false sense of security.

Like other medical experts, Fontanet said it takes about two weeks for containment measures to have some impact.