Europe’s cases soar to weekly pandemic high
Europe’s fall and winter surge continues to unfold, with exponential increases in daily cases and matching percentage increases in daily deaths, Hans Henri Kluge, MD, MPH, director of the World Health Organization (WHO) European regional office, said today at a briefing.
He added that the region just registered its highest weekly incidence since the start of the pandemic, adding about 700,000 cases.
The region isn’t in the same situation as it was in March, because deaths are five times fewer and hospitalization doubling time is still two to three times longer, Kluge said. Lower mortality could reflect higher testing rates among younger, healthier people, but he warned that the situation could worsen dramatically if the disease spreads back into older age-groups with more indoor multigenerational social gatherings.
Epidemiological models show that simple measures like greater use of masks and stricter social distancing measures could save up to 281,000 lives across the region by Feb 1. “These projections do nothing but confirm what we always said: the pandemic won’t reverse its course on its own, but we will,” Kluge said.