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COVID cases triple across Europe and hospitalizations double, WHO says

The WHO says coronavirus cases have tripled across Europe in the past six weeks, accounting for nearly half of all infections globally.

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Coronavirus cases have tripled in Europe in the last six weeks, according to the WHO, and now account for nearly half of all infections worldwide. Hospitalization rates have also increased, but the number of intensive care admissions has remained relatively low.

WHO Europe director Dr. Hans Kluge referred to COVID-19 as “a nasty and potentially deadly illness” that people should not underestimate in a statement released this week by the organization. Recurrences of the Omicron variant’s super-infectious relatives, according to him, could lead to long-term COVID. He said that

COVID-19’s fall strategy was also unveiled on Tuesday by the World Health Organization. U.N. health officials have recommended a second vaccine booster dose for anyone ages 5 and up with weakened immune systems, as well as increased ventilation in schools, workplaces, and public transportation.

Kluge stated that the current flu season in the southern hemisphere, coupled with COVID, was putting a strain on health care systems in the region.

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Because of the increased pressure, there is a good chance that the Northern Hemisphere will experience something similar, he cautioned: “We are likely to see a similar scenario.”

Even in countries where coronavirus restrictions have been largely abandoned by authorities, he urged people to make their own choices.

There are tools available to help us stay safe, assess our risk, and take action to protect others if we become infected, according to Kluge. Using a mask isn’t illegal just because it isn’t required.

Nearly 3 million new cases of coronavirus infection were reported last week in the 53 countries that make up WHO’s European region, which extends all the way to Central Asia. As many as 3,000 people were being killed each week, according to the agency.

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Despite countries reducing testing, the number of people infected with COVID-19 has risen steadily over the last five weeks.

According to Kluge, “with rising cases, we’re also seeing an increase in hospitalizations,” which will only increase in the fall and winter months. In countries where the health workforce is already under enormous pressure, this forecast presents a huge challenge.”

As recently as this week, editors of two British medical journals said that the country’s National Health Service had never before been so close to collapse.

It’s time for the UK government to take action on the long-standing issues exacerbated by COVID, such as overcrowded ambulances lining up outside hospitals that can’t accept any more patients, according to an editorial in the BMJ and the Health Service Journal.

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In their view, vaccines have not broken the link between infections and hospitalizations, as the government claims. Vaccines have greatly reduced the risk of serious illness and death, but they have had little effect on the spread of disease.

According to the editors, “The government must stop gaslighting the public and be honest about the risk the pandemic still poses to them.”

The Los Angeles Times first published this story.

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