Every 17 seconds someone dies from Covid-19 in Europe
The regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe, Hans Kluge, has warned that every 17 seconds a person dies in Europe from Covid-19, and that only last week more than 29,000 Covid related deaths were registered on the continent.
In a press conference earlier today, Kluge reported that in the last two weeks deaths from Covid-19 have increased by 18%, and that Europe already accounts for 26% of all coronavirus deaths worldwide, and 28% of the total of positive cases.
In fact, the WHO leader has drawn attention to the fact that more than 80% of European countries have an incidence rate of more than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and even a third of them of more than 700 infected per 100,000 people.
"This is causing saturation of healthcare systems in various countries, for example in France where intensive care units have been above 95% of their capacity for 10 days, or in Switzerland where they are full," he said.
However, thanks to virus containment measures, new weekly cases have fallen from the two million registered two weeks ago, to 1.8 million detected last week. A "small" reduction that has been positively valued by the expert, who has urged countries to continue carrying out initiatives to stop the spread of the virus.
Klug said that confinements can be avoided if, for example, 95% of the population uses masks. “There is significant collateral damage associated with confinements such as increased mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, gender-based violence, interruption of essential services and the need for better financial support for affected people, including people who lose their job. So, if people are prepared tocollaborate, then lockdowns can be avoided.”
At the same time, Kluge has recognized the "great hope" that the results of the trials of two vaccines against Covid-19 are announcing, although he has warned that the fight against the virus will not end until it is guaranteed that all countries have access to the vaccines, and in an equitable way.
Likewise, he underlined the need to protect the most vulnerable population from other diseases such as, for example, the flu, and for countries to improve their systems of contact tracing of positive cases of coronavirus, including isolation, monitoring and conducting Covid-19 tests.
"Recent scientific advances in rapid diagnostic tests (such as antigen tests) also provide a valuable option to win the battle against the pandemic, whether that is in a hospital, at home, or in the wider community," Kluge stressed.
On the other hand, the WHO leader has asked governments to protect children, ensuring that they can continue to go to schools safely. "Children and adolescents are not considered the main drivers of transmission, so the closure of schools is not an effective measure to control Covid-19," he declared.
Incidentally, five people have died from Covid-19 in Europe whilst you have been reading this article.