The World Health Organization is recommending the public to use Covid-19 mitigation methods, including masking and social distancing, regardless of vaccination status, as cases increase throughout Europe as the Christmas season approaches.
Some nations and communities have been lulled into a “false feeling of security” that the epidemic is gone and that those who have been vaccinated are totally protected against Covid-19, according to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday.
He emphasized that Covid-19 immunizations “save lives” and reduce the chance of severe sickness and death, but that those who have been vaccinated can still get and transmit the virus once social mixing returns to pre-pandemic levels.
“Even if you’re vaccinated, continue to take precautions to prevent becoming infected yourself, and to infecting someone else who could die,” Tedros said. “That means wearing a mask, maintaining distance, avoiding crowds and meeting others outside if you can, or in a well-ventilated space inside.”
Referring to Europe as “the epicenter of the pandemic,” Tedros said that the region was facing “unsustainable pressure” on both its healthcare systems and personnel.
According to the WHO’s most recent weekly epidemiological report, Europe accounted for 67 percent of the world’s total new Covid cases for the week ending Nov. 21, with more than 2.4 million infections, an 11 percent rise from the preceding seven days.
According to the WHO’s division for Europe and Central Asia, those territories have reached a total of 1.5 million Covid deaths and might experience 700,000 additional fatalities by March 2022. Over the next four months, the group anticipates that critical care units in 49 of the region’s 53 nations would be subjected to high or exceptional stress.
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programs said that Europe’s current outbreak was being fuelled by various governments of the region easing public health measures.
“In Europe, even in the midst of a very, very strong resurgence in cases, and even in the midst of some of those countries under huge pressure in their health systems, we’re seeing pre-pandemic levels of social mixing, gathering and many other things,” Ryan said. “And the reality is the virus will continue to transmit intensely in that environment.”
Despite the fact that Europe has seen the most recorded Covid-19 cases, Tedros cautioned that “no country or area is out of the woods” just yet. However, increasing vaccine coverage, wearing masks, utilising distance, and boosting interior ventilation might help reduce Covid-19 transmission without resorting to lockdowns as the Christmas season approaches, according to Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19.
Covid-19 infections are also on the rise in the United States, with more than 95,000 new cases recorded daily on average, according to Johns Hopkins University data. According to Hopkins, the virus kills more than 1,100 individuals every day in the United States.
According to a seven-day average of Health and Human Services data as of Wednesday, 51,000 Americans are now hospitalized with Covid-19, up 7% from the previous week.
Unvaccinated people aged 2 and up should wear a mask in public places, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The completely vaccinated should shield their faces inside or in busy outdoor settings where Covid transmission is high, according to the CDC. Masks are also required onboard flights, trains, and buses, as well as at all transit facilities, according to the CDC.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb says that the authorities are failing to prevent breakthrough infections.
“At this point I think we need to accept that there’s a lot of breakthrough infections happening, particularly people who are out a significant portion of time from their original vaccination,” Gottlieb said. “There’s going to be retrospective studies that identify this, but we’re not doing a good job of tracking this in real time. And this is the argument for people to go out and get boosters,” he said.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)