The World Health Organisation said that coronavirus cases have tripled across Europe in the past six weeks, accounting for nearly half of all infections globally. Hospitalisation rates have also doubled, although intensive care admissions have remained low. WHO’s Europe director, Dr Hans Kluge, described COVID-19 as a nasty and potentially deadly illness that people should not underestimate. He said super-infectious relatives of the omicron variant were driving new waves of disease across the continent and that repeat infections could potentially lead to long COVID.
WHO said the 53 countries in its European region, which stretches to central Asia, reported nearly 3 million new coronavirus infections last week and that the virus was killing about 3,000 people every week. Globally, COVID-19 cases have increased for the past five weeks, even as countries have scaled back on testing.
With rising cases, we’re also seeing a rise in hospitalisations, which are only set to increase further in the autumn and winter months, Kluge said. This forecast presents a huge challenge to the health workforce in country after country, already under enormous pressure dealing with unrelenting crises since 2020. It is time to stay safe and vigilant.