A covid patient breathes oxygen through a mask in the sub-intensive care unit of Castelpaloco Hospital, south of Rome, on October 13, 2021.
Alberto Pizzoli | AFP | Getty Images
Cavid cases in Europe have risen for the third week in a row, World Health Organization officials said in a briefing on Wednesday, calling for warnings as temperatures drop and work, travel and leisure activities return to normal.
In an epidemiological update released on Tuesday, researchers wrote that Europe is the only area among the six regions of the WHO member states where cases are on the rise. More than 1.3 million covid cases were reported across the continent in the week ending Sunday, up 7% from the previous seven days.
“This is a three-week progressive increase,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergency program, said during a question-and-answer session on the agency’s social media channels. “So looking at the overall global curve it looks like it’s tracking, Europe has risen three weeks in a row.”
The situation in Europe is partly driven by growth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, where Ryan said the incidence of covid has increased by 50% in the past week. As winter approaches, Ryan said, Covid has already begun to weigh heavily on health-care systems in some countries, limiting the availability of intensive care beds.
Ryan Cowid has blamed the increase, at least in part, on easing restrictions.
“The Northern Hemisphere is heading for another winter, and we need to be a little more concerned about that rise across Europe as we enter late, late, deep autumn,” Ryan said. “And as societies open up, we’re seeing those numbers grow, and in a number of countries, we’re already seeing the health system begin to come under pressure, we’re seeing a decrease in the number of available ICU beds.”
And as people prepare to travel and meet in person during the holiday season, Ryan called on people who have not been vaccinated against the virus to be vaccinated against the virus in the months ahead in hopes of preventing the spread of covid.
“There’s good news in the sense that we’re not seeing this massive increase, but it’s still worrying in the context of relatively high levels of vaccination,” he said.
In addition to the highly contagious delta variant that fuels covid spikes worldwide in the summer, researchers are now observing an evolution of the strain that could be even more dangerous. Known as Delta Plus, UK experts are seeing an increasing number of mutations in covid patients.
But there is no evidence that Delta Plus is more contagious than its predecessor, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.
According to the Associated Press and amid the escalation of the Kovid case and deaths, most of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s staff will have to stay home for a week from October 30. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Russia reported an average of about 31,700 new covid cases in seven days as of Tuesday, up from 27,200 a week earlier.