Spain is first country in western Europe to reach 1 million coronavirus cases

France is also closing in on 1 million cases

Coronavirus cases in Spain surged to 1,005,295 on Wednesday, making it the first country in western Europe to cross the 1 million milestone. 

In Spain, 34,366 have died from the virus, according to officials. 

Spain completely shut down its economy to deal with the first wave of coronavirus, which peaked around 10,000 new cases a day in late March. The country got a brief reprieve in May and June, but cases started resurging in July and haven't slowed since. 

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There is now some resistance to another total economic shutdown, but Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa is meeting with regional heads of health Thursday to discuss ways to mitigate the spread. 

One possible strategy is a curfew to stop partying, which has become a source of contagion in Spain and the rest of Europe among young people. 

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that people 15 to 49 now make up roughly 80% of those who test positive across Europe, compared to just 50% during the first wave in March and April. 

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Though Spain is the first country in western Europe to reach 1 million cases, France is right behind it with more than 999,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Several French cities already have curfews to slow the spread. 

Russia has over 1.4 million cases. Spain was hit harder than Russia, France and other European countries on a per capita basis, though. 

A group of 20 Spanish health officials wrote in The Lancet in early August that the country's poor handling of the pandemic can be attributed to "a lack of pandemic preparedness... a delayed reaction by central and regional authorities, slow decision-making processes, high levels of population mobility and migration, poor coordination among central and regional authorities, low reliance on scientific advice, an ageing population, vulnerable groups experiencing health and social inequalities, and a lack of preparedness in nursing homes."

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Countries across Europe are trying to control the resurgence of coronavirus in a variety of ways, including new contact tracing apps, face mask mandates and further lockdowns. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.