GENEVA – The World Health Organization’s Europe office says projections show the region of 53 countries could face a further 700,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic by next spring, totaling more than 2 million.
WHO Europe, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, also cited growing evidence of a decline in protection against infections and mild disease through vaccines, saying a “booster dose” should be given as a priority to the most vulnerable populations — including those with weakened immune system – as well as people over 60 and health professionals.
However, the UN Health Organization’s international headquarters in Geneva has repeatedly called for a moratorium on the use of boosters until the end of the year so that doses can be made available to many developing countries that have faced severe shortages of the COVID-19 virus. -19 vaccines compared to to the rich world.
RELATED: Europe is the only world region where the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, says WHO
WHO Europe called on people to get vaccinated and to respect proper hygiene and social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.
“Today, the COVID-19 situation across Europe and Central Asia is very serious. We are entering a challenging winter, but we must not be without hope, as we all – governments, health authorities, individuals – can take decisive action to stabilize the pandemic,” said Dr. Kluge, WHO Europe’s regional director, said in a statement.
Stretching deep into Central Asia, the European region reported that the number of deaths from COVID-19 rose to nearly 4,200 a day last week – doubling the number recorded at the end of September. The cumulative number of deaths has now reached 1.5 million in the region.
RELATED: Wearing a mask reduces new COVID-19 cases by 53%, global studies suggest
The three factors driving the increase are the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus, a relaxation of restrictive measures such as mask-wearing requirements and physical distancing in places, and large segments of Europe’s population remaining unvaccinated, WHO said. Europe.
“We can expect to see high or extreme stress in hospital beds in 25 countries between now and March 1, 2022, and high or extreme stress in intensive care units (ICUs) in 49 of 53 countries,” a statement said. WHO Europe. . “Based on current trends, the cumulative reported deaths are expected to exceed 2.2 million by spring next year.”
It said the region could have a cumulative number of 2 million deaths from the pandemic by March 1.