Covid deaths in Europe to top 2 million by March, says WHO


The World Health Organisation (WHO) says deaths across Europe from COVID-19 are likely to exceed two million by March next year.

The agency said deaths have risen to nearly 4,200 a day, a double of the number being recorded in September while cumulative reported deaths in the region, which includes the UK, have already surpassed 1.5 million.

The agency added that with rising cases and deaths, there will be high stress on hospital beds as well as in intensive care units in 49 out of 53 countries between now and first of March 2022.

“We can expect that there will be high or extreme stress on hospital beds in 25 countries, and high or extreme stress in intensive care units in 49 out of 53 countries between now and 1 March 2022. Cumulative reported deaths are projected to reach over 2.2 million by spring next year, based on current trends,” a statement by WHO reads.

As Europe again becomes the centre of the pandemic, with tighter controls mainly on the unvaccinated and heated debate in several countries about making vaccination obligatory, Austria this week became the first west European country to re-enter lockdown since inoculation began earlier this year.

The increase in cases was being driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant which is now dominant across the region, the WHO said, fuelled by a widespread relaxation of preventive measures, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing, since the summer.

With more and more people gathering indoors in the colder late-autumn weather, a large number still not vaccinated, and vaccine efficacy against severe forms of the disease waning, “many people are left vulnerable to the virus”.

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