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Duterte incorrect that Europe in ‘third’ pandemic wave

President Rodrigo Duterte has wrongly claimed that countries in Europe are experiencing the "third wave" of COVID-19.

They aren’t. They’re still battling the second wave of coronavirus infections.

Duterte, in his Nov. 30 public address on COVID-19, reminded Filipinos that the “third wave” of the pandemic is sweeping Europe and America despite their wealth because of people’s hardheadedness:

Now, let me remind you that Europe and America are experiencing what they would call some say a third wave na pagbalik, mas marami ang nagkasakit ngayon at namatay. Ito this is a country which is rich na dapat may bakuna na, can afford it. And yet, maraming nagkakasakit, namatay for the simple reason na matigas ang ulo, ayaw eh (Now, let me remind you that Europe and America are experiencing what they would call some say a third wave or resurgence where cases and deaths are higher than before. These countries are rich and can afford vaccines. And yet a lot of people still get sick and even die [because of the virus] for the simple reason that they are hardheaded and don’t [cooperate]).

Various reports show that much of the United States has been going through its third surge in COVID-19 infections, or what some call a “third wave,” since late October.

Its total case count has risen to 13,234,551 and its death toll to 263,946 as of Nov. 30, the highest in the world for months now, data from the World Health Organization show.

Europe, however, is still in the midst of its “second wave”--not its third wave, as Duterte claimed--with its intensive care capacity near breaking point, according to reports, including by Deutsche Welle.

As of mid-November, various countries in Europe have imposed or reimposed restrictions such as lockdowns and curfews, a BBC report said. They include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Ireland and Sweden.

The continent recorded 18,660,854 confirmed cases and 408,443 deaths as of Nov. 30, according to WHO.

The restrictions have recently led to a drop in new diagnoses, but the Washington Post quoted Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, as warning against easing restrictions too quickly.

Another WHO official, COVID-19 special envoy David Nabarro, told Swiss newspapers that Europe faces a third wave of the pandemic in early 2021 if countries fail to adopt prolonged measures to prevent the second wave of infections.

Now we have the second wave. If they don’t build the necessary infrastructure, we’ll have a third wave early next year.

According to the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine of the University of Oxford, the term “wave” was first used to classify the different-phased influenza outbreak that occurred from 1889 to 1892.

An American epidemiologist said a wave implies a rise in the number of sick individuals, a defined peak, and then a decline.

The first wave pertains to the first occurrence of a virus, causing the initial rise of cases and deaths. The second wave, on the other hand, pertains to a deadlier strain of the virus emerging, causing a resurgence and increase in cases as well as deaths.

Although the third wave is mentioned in the literature, there were no further explanations given that most outbreaks only reached the second wave. (JO)


BBC News. (2020, November 13). COVID: What are the lockdown measures in place across Europe? Retrieved from Birnbaum, M. (2020, November 19). Someone in Europe is dying every 17 seconds from COVID-19, WHO says. Washington Post. Retrieved from Lopez, G. (2020, November 9). America’s third COVID-19 surge, explained. Vox. Retrieved from Pollet, M. (2020, November 18). Coronavirus second wave: Which countries in Europe are experiencing a fresh spike in COVID-19 cases? Euronews. Retrieved from Presidential Communications Operations Office. (2020, November 30). Talk to the people of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved from [7] [8] Reuters. (2020, November 22). WHO COVID envoy fears third wave, calls Europe response ‘incomplete.’ Retrieved from RTVMalacañang . (2020, November 30). Kumusta po mahal kong kababayan | Meeting on COVID-19 concerns and talk to the people on COVID-19 [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. (2020, April 30). COVID-19 – Epidemic ‘waves.’ Retrieved from The New York Times. (2020, October 21). A third coronavirus surge has taken root in the U.S. Retrieved from

Wagner, A. (2020, July 6). What makes a ‘wave’ of disease? An epidemiologist explains. The Conversation. Retrieved from

World Health Organization (2020, December 1). WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


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