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Region could suffer 700,000 more Covid deaths by spring

A patient suffering from COVID-19 receives treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the clinic “Klinikum Darmstadt” in Darmstadt, Germany, on May 20, 2021.

Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters

Europe and Central Asia could reach more than 2.2 million total Covid-19 deaths by next March as countries battle a wave of the highly transmissible delta variant, the office wrote. World Health Organization for the region in a statement released Tuesday.

Forecasts for the coming months come as the 53-country region surpasses 1.5 million Covid deaths, with the virus now becoming the leading cause of death in Europe and Central Asia, the WHO’s Europe branch said. . The region is currently experiencing nearly 4,200 deaths per day, double the daily deaths recorded at the end of September, the statement noted.

The WHO regional office in Copenhagen, Denmark covers Europe as well as Israel, Turkey and the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

“In order to live with this virus and continue with our daily lives, we need to take a ‘vaccine plus’ approach,” Dr Hans Henri Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said in the statement. “This means receiving the standard doses of vaccine, taking a booster if offered, as well as incorporating preventative measures into our normal routines.”

In addition to the increased contagiousness of the delta strain, the statement blamed the region’s surge on the continent’s unvaccinated population and many countries’ decision to reduce mask wear and social distancing. The WHO had previously warned that winter could cause epidemics in Europe, as people congregate indoors with poor ventilation, conditions that facilitate transmission of the virus.

Preparing for a “harsh winter,” Kluge called on the public to help avoid bottlenecks and economic disruption by taking precautions including the use of face coverings, physical distancing as well as testing and testing. contact tracing. The statement also urged countries to consider giving booster doses to health workers and anyone over the age of 60 to combat the declining efficacy of available vaccines.

WHO predicts that 49 of the 53 countries in the region could experience high or extreme stress in their intensive care units by March 2022. High or extreme stress on hospital beds is also expected to affect 25 countries.

Infections in the region began to increase in the week ending September 19, when WHO researchers measured a seven-day total of around 1.1 million new cases. The organization reported more than 2.4 million new cases during the week ending November 21. This represents around 67% of all Covid cases worldwide during this period, according to the latest weekly epidemiological update from the WHO.

Germany set a pandemic record on Monday with a seven-day average of more than 51,000 new cases daily, according to CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. And Russia reported a record seven-day average of nearly 1,218 daily Covid deaths for the week ended Monday, Hopkins measured.

Escalating infections in Austria led Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg to promulgate a nationwide vaccination mandate from February 1 and to launch the country’s fourth lockdown on Monday. Vienna government says lockdown will last no more than 20 days. The Netherlands also introduced a partial lockdown on Saturday, shutting down some businesses earlier and preventing fans from attending sporting events for three weeks.

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also called for tougher measures to control the wave of infection in Europe’s largest economy.

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