On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Europe is facing a possibly devasting winter that could see five hundred thousand people die with coronavirus. It signaled the alarm over a surge in new cases and debased shuttering COVID-19 vaccination rollouts on regions of the continent. Several countries of Europe are fighting spikes in new cases, and Germany on Thursday reported its highest number of daily new infections since the outbreak started.
We are at another critical point of pandemic resurgence. Europe is back at the epicenter of the pandemic – where we were 1 year ago. The difference today is that we know more & we can do more, we have more tools & means to mitigate & reduce the damage to our communities & society
— WHO/Europe (@WHO_Europe) November 4, 2021
The WHO regional director Hans Kluge warned that the pace of transmission across the European region was of grave concern. Furthermore, he adds that Europe is, once again, at the epicenter. According to the reliable prediction, if Europe stays on this trajectory, Europe and Central Asia could see another half-million coronavirus deaths by the first of February next year. He also warned that forty-three of fifty-three nations on this patch could see extreme or high stress on hospital beds.
Massive swathes of the continent are fighting to beat back the coronavirus delta variant surges, which complicated the easing of restrictions in several countries. Eastern Europe is specifically badly hit; new infection cases are at a record high in Russia and Germany, while Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, announced strict new restrictions on Monday. Several health experts expressed grave concern that more rises in cases, coupled with seasonal winter colds, could become the reason for wild pressure for health care workers through Christmas and New Year celebrations.
What are the factors for the new coronavirus wave?
In its latest weekly update, the WHO said Europe recorded a six percent rise in new cases on the previous week. That was the peak of any worldwide region, with every other region registering stable or declining trends. Kluge said that Europe is at another critical stage of the COVID-19 pandemic resurgence. Further, he blamed two factors for the new wave:
- A lack of inoculation coverage in the Balkans and towards the east of the continent
- The relaxation of coronavirus measures
Kluge also said that hospitalization rates in nations with low vaccine approval are noticeably higher and increasing more rapidly than those with higher uptake. On Wednesday, Jens Spahn, the health minister of Germany, warned that stricter actions were needed for those who refused to take the vaccination. At a press conference, Spahn told reporters that the Rome authorities asked for his COVID vaccination certificate during the G20 summit more usually in one day than in Germany for one month.
The country reported around 33949 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, and it broke the record previously set in December of last year. On the other hand, hospitalization and deaths remain far less than they were in that pre-vaccine peak time. Additionally, he said that Germany was experiencing a pandemic of unvaccinated people. The reality is that there would be fewer coronavirus patients in ICUs if everybody who could do it got a vaccination.
With seventy-eight million cases in the Europe region of the WHO – which includes all twenty-seven member countries of the European Union (EU), Turkey, Russia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and many Central Asian countries, and the Eastern Mediterranean region, Israel, Africa, and the Western Pacific combined. Kluge said that hospitalization rates amid coronavirus in the area more than doubled during the last week.
Insufficient Vaccination Coverage in Europe
WHO Europe reported that the region tallied approximately 1.8 million new COVID-19 cases last week, and it marked a surge of around 6% from the previous seven days. Health officials also recorded twenty-four thousand weekly deaths amid the virus, a twelve percent increase on the previous week. Kluge said that the rise in the cases was observed across all age groups. The regional director blamed the mounting caseload on relaxing social and public health measures and insufficient vaccination coverage.
Kluge said European countries were at diverse stages of vaccination rollout. According to the statistics organized by WHO Europe, seventy percent of people received full vaccination in nine countries, while in three nations such as Armenia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, the rate remains less than twenty percent. As a result, the European officials must change their tactics, from reacting to surges of coronavirus to stopping them from occurring in the first place.
Europe is the Only Region Where Coronavirus Cases is Still Increaasing
On Wednesday, the WHO headquarters reported that virus cases mounted in Europe for the 5th consecutive week, making it the only region where coronavirus is still increasing. The infection rate of COVID-19 was the highest in Europe, which reported around one hundred and ninety-two cases per one hundred thousand people. That came after the worldwide death toll from coronavirus surpassed five million people on Monday.
In recent months, the vaccination rate slowed all over the continent. While some eighty percent of people in Spain received two doses of vaccine, that number is lower in Germany and France – at least sixty-six percent and sixty-eight percent respectively – and lower still in some eastern and central European nations. Only thirty-two percent of Russians received full vaccination shots by October 2021.