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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

Dec 1, 2020 - Health

"Every Mother Counts" founder: Midwives need more resources during the pandemic

Axios' Niala Boodho and Christy Turlington Burns.

Midwives and doulas need more support from states to ensure safer births for women , as hospitals increasingly become overwhelmed during the coronavirus pandemic, "Every Mother Counts" founder Christy Turlington Burns said on Tuesday at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: More mothers die in the U.S. from complications during pregnancy than in any other developed country, according to a recent Commonwealth Fund analysis, as well as past reporting by NPR and ProPublica.

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.