A woman with her dog in Pamplona, Spain, during a protest Sunday against the Spanish government's actions during the pandemic. Photo: Elsa A Bravo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in Spain on Monday surpassed 500,000, after the country confirmed some 26,000 new infections over the weekend — and the U.K. and France are also reporting surges.

Why it matters: Spain is the first country in Western Europe to surpass half a million COVID-19 cases. There is growing concern that Europe is experiencing a second wave of infections, with cases surging over the summer.

Driving the news: As Spanish children prepare to return to school after six months away from classes following coronavirus restrictions, the country has reported 49,716 new novel coronavirus cases in the past week, mostly in Madrid, the Guardian notes.

The U.K. confirmed on Sunday 2,988 new cases — the most since May — and on Monday, the health department reported a further 2,948 infections.

  • England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam said Brits had "relaxed too much" over the summer and they could expect "a bumpy ride over the next few months" unless people started taking the virus seriously again, per the BBC.

France reported Friday a record 8,975 new cases. The previous daily record of 7,578 infections was set on March 31, when the country launched a major lockdown, Reuters notes.

  • Since Friday, 22 schools have closed, as the country reported a further 8,550 additional cases on Saturday and another 7,071 infections Sunday, France 24 reports

What they're saying: "Where case numbers rise initially in the younger parts of the population they do in turn filter through and start to give elevated rates of disease and hospital admissions in the older age groups, and we know that then becomes a serious public health problem," Van-Tam said, addressing the surge in Europe, per the BBC.

  • "The fact that 17- to 21-year-olds are not becoming ill means they are lucky, but they also forget because the disease is not severe for them that they are potent spreaders."

Go deeper

Updated 22 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 980,000 worldwide on Thursday.

By the numbers: Globally, more than 32 million million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
15 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

14 hours ago - Health

Young people accounted for 20% of coronavirus cases this summer

Hundreds of beachgoers pack in without social distancing in July. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

People in their 20s accounted for more than 20% of all COVID-19 cases between June and August, analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, bringing the median age of coronavirus patients to 37, down from 46 in the spring.

Why it matters: Young people are less vulnerable to serious illness, but they contributed to community spread over the summer, the analysis says — meaning they likely infected older, higher-risk people, especially in the South.