NAU expert says comparisons between U.S. and European response to COVID-19 difficult

While new cases in the United States have been surging, many other parts of the world have changed their approach as they deal with a second surge in COVID-19.

In many places in Europe, authorities have reissued lockdown orders. In the U.S., meanwhile, restaurants and shops are still open in many places.

While some have tried to compare the approaches taken by the United States and various European countries during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a renowned doctor who spoke with FOX 10's Bailey Miller on Nov. 17 said it is very hard to compare the differences between Europe and the U.S., and a lot of this has to do with comparing climates.

"We need to be thinking of this pandemic not as Europe and the United States, but there is a lot of subtlety in different places and different compliance in public health practices," said Dr. Paul Keim, Executive Director of Northern Arizona University's Pathogen and Microbiome Institute.

Dr. Keim says the U.S. is so vast, with so many different climates, which changes how people respond in different areas.

"In Arizona, we got slammed in the early, middle part of July, and part of that had to do with people in the Valley going inside because of the air conditioning," said Dr. Keim. "Now, we see Upper Midwest up there getting slammed because they are going inside."

However, cases are still rising in Arizona, and Dr. Keim says minimizing any exposure to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will help keep those case numbers from rising.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have a long dark winter," said Dr. Keim.

Currently, there is one upside to being in certain areas in Arizona during this time of year, as it will be easier to be outside, which Dr. Keim says will limit exposure. He says there could be a number of factors for rising cases here, but one may be many of the people traveling here from all over the country for a warmer winter.

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)