Kovid is increasing in Europe. Experts say this is a warning for America

As Europe finds itself at the epicenter of COVID-19 Once again, experts say it should serve as a “warning” to the US and other countries about the “persistent” nature of the virus.

Countries across the continent have seen cases rise. October saw an increase of over 50 percent, and the worrying trend continues this month as winter begins.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the director of the Europe region of the World Health Organization, warned on 4 November The area was “back to the epicenter of the pandemic”, And his words proved to be forethought.

On Friday, the World Health Organization said nearly 2 million cases had been reported across Europe a week ago – the most the region has seen in a week since the pandemic began.

In recent weeks, Germany report daily record The number of new infections exceeded 50,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

NS Netherlands More than 16,000 cases were also reported – the country’s highest number since the pandemic began, prompting the government on Saturday to introduce a partial lockdown that is supposed to last at least three weeks.

As cases rose late last month, Belgium reimposed some COVID restrictions, including requiring masks in public places. The country’s COVID-19 pass will also have to be shown to enter bars, restaurants and fitness clubs. The passport shows that you have either been fully vaccinated, recently tested negative or have recently recovered from the disease.

The country still recorded more than 15,000 cases daily on Monday.

Despite the surge, daily death rates in all three countries have remained relatively stable compared to previous spikes, and experts have credited high vaccines for weakening the link between the number of cases and hospitalizations and deaths.

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“Fortunately, high vaccination coverage substantially limits the number of deaths and hospitalizations,” Tom Wensleers, an evolutionary biologist and biostatistician at KU Leuven University in Belgium, told NBC News in an email on Wednesday.

Belgium, which reported hundreds of deaths at the start of the pandemic and again last autumn when a second wave of cases forced a national lockdown, has seen Recent weeks have “tested the capacity of the hospital”, Wensleyers said. But the overall deaths seem to have been largely superseded by the high case rate, he said.

‘Really devastating’

However, the same cannot be said for countries in Eastern Europe, where he said the situation was “truly disastrous”.

In the last three weeks, Romania, with 591; Bulgaria, with 334; Latvia, with 64, has all reported record high daily deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The number of cases has also increased.

People on a street near Alexanderplatz in Berlin. The COVID-19 infection rate in the country has increased dramatically in recent weeks.Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Calling it “worrisome”, Wencelers said he believed low vaccine uptake and high vaccine hesitation were largely to blame.

“It is not because of a shortage of vaccines,” he said, adding that the focus on joint procurement of vaccines at the EU level meant that all 27 member states “were able to purchase an equal amount of vaccine.”

“Despite having access to vaccines, those countries did not manage to persuade their populations to be vaccinated,” he said.

At least one in three people in Eastern European countries do not trust health care, while the A.A. The block average is 18 percent. european commission survey known as a urobarometer, According to Reuters,

Romania and Bulgaria are among the countries with the lowest vaccination rates across the continent EU Vaccine Tracker,

The latest data shows that less than 23 percent of the adult population in Bulgaria was fully vaccinated, while just over 25 percent had received at least one shot. In Romania, 34 percent of the population over the age of 18 were fully vaccinated, while about 38 percent received at least one dose.

A woman holds up a poster during an anti-Covid vaccine protest in Sofia, Bulgaria last month.Histo Rusev/Getty Images

The Eurobarometer survey showed that respondents in both countries were the least likely to express enthusiasm for vaccination.

The Vaccine Tracker also showed that other Eastern European countries have lower vaccination rates than their western neighbors.

This means that there translates to a higher case rate. [into] A much higher death toll,” Wensleyers said.

Acknowledging the first winter with the Delta version, Danny Altman, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said he was not sure that people in Eastern Europe appreciated how punishing the pandemic continued to be in Delta’s time. .

Protesters hold a poster reading “Stop compulsory vaccination” during a demonstration against “compulsory” vaccination in Riga, Latvia, earlier this year.Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

“It’s continuous,” he said. With some Eastern European countries “at the extreme end of vaccine hesitation,” he said, “there is no chance of tackling this pandemic under these circumstances.”

In Austria, a European state that has long been a bridge between East and West, the government on Sunday ordered a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people to slow the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The move means non-vaccinated individuals over the age of 12 will be banned from leaving the home from midnight on Sunday, except for basic activities such as working, shopping for food, going for a walk – or going to work. to do.

“It is our job as the government of Austria to protect the people,” Chancellor Alexander Schellenberg told reporters in Vienna on Sunday. “That’s why we decided that from Monday… there will be a lockdown for people who are not vaccinated.”

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, said the high death rate should be “a warning” to other countries with low vaccination rates.

While he said he believes the most effective approach is a multi-pronged one, including coronavirus measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, he said that vaccines and booster jabs are critical to containing the spread of Covid-19. Huh.

Wensleyers agreed, and said that Americans should pay attention to the situation unfolding across Europe.

People wait in line to get their shots during a “marathon of vaccinations” at the National Library in Bucharest, Romania, last month. Daniele Mihailescu / AFP via Getty Images

US states with high and low vaccination rates could look at Europe’s case numbers and take it “as a sign that the US may still see a resurgence,” he said.

On both sides of the Atlantic, “convincing as many people as possible to get vaccinated should be a top priority,” as well as “setting up booster campaigns” for those most at risk, he said.