WHO warns of new COVID-19 wave; says Europe, Central Asia likely to see 500K deaths by February
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that a 53-country region in Europe and Central Asia are facing the real threat of a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic in the coming weeks and are likely to see about 500,000 additional deaths before February 1.
Hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 in the region more than doubled over the last week.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said Europe and Central Asia can save up to 188,000 lives of half a million if 95 per cent of people wear masks.
We are, once again, at the epicentre: WHO
Over the last four weeks, the region saw a 55 per cent increase in new coronavirus cases, while Europe and Central Asia together accounted for 59 per cent of global cases and 48 per cent of reported deaths.
We are at another critical point of pandemic resurgence, Dr. Kluge told reporters from the WHO Europe headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark adding that Europe is back at the epicentre of the pandemic.
He, however, said that the difference now is that health authorities know more about the virus and have better tools to combat it.
Hospital admission rates higher in countries with lower vaccination rates
Kluge pinned the blame of this resurgence on relaxed prevention measures and low vaccination rates in some areas and said that hospital admission rates were higher in countries with lower vaccination rates.
WHO Europe says the region tallied nearly 1.8 million new weekly cases, an increase of about 6 per cent from the previous week, and 24,000 COVID-19 weekly deaths – a 12 per cent gain.
According to a WHO report, while around one billion vaccine doses have been administered in the region, only about 47 per cent of people in the region are fully vaccinated.
While the Delta variant dominates the region, AY. 4.2 and AY.4.3 has also been detected from several European countries.