Will the world close again this winter? Northern hemisphere anxiety rises over re-proliferation from Europe

There are concerns that the health care system is at risk of saturation as the number of COVID-19 cases in Europe soars. The photo is of the Corona ward in the French Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on September 3rd. © AFP=News1 © News1 Reporter Choi Seo-yoon

The new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) epidemic in Europe, which started around September, has been raging for three months. As the number of confirmed cases is overwhelming with the relatively high vaccination rate, hopes of overcoming the pandemic, encouraged by the development of vaccines and treatments, are waning again. The World Health Organization (WHO) is sounding alarms every day, saying “Europe is the epicenter again” and “By March, 500,000 more people will die in Europe.”

Due to the prolonged pandemic due to a re-invasion from Europe, the entire northern hemisphere country, which faces the winter together with Europe, such as the United States and Asia, is nervous.

◇ Countries with low vaccination rates show an overwhelming increase in infections

As of the 19th (local time), the US science magazine Undark reported that the number of confirmed cases is increasing in countries with high vaccination rates such as Portugal, Italy and Spain as of the 19th (local time). reported to be wearing

Germany and Austria are by far the countries leading the infection rate in Central Europe. Germany already had 33,949 new confirmed cases on the 4th, breaking the record high in December last year, and recently, the number of confirmed cases is between 40,000 and 60,000 and deaths between 150 and 250. The population size is about 84 million. Austria, with a population of only 9 million, maintains around 15,000 confirmed cases and 40 deaths every day.

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A graph of new confirmed cases in Europe (left) and daily deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. © News1 (Reuters)

According to Our World in Data, a statistical site at Oxford University, the complete vaccination rate in Germany is 67.9% and in Austria 65.3%, which is lower than Spain (79.2%) and Portugal (86.6%), but is lower than the global average (42.0%) or the United States (62.6%). %) is higher than In Spain and Portugal, thousands of new cases are reported every day, but the death toll is being maintained at single digits.

The situation in Eastern Europe, where vaccination rates are low, is even worse. Russia announced that there were around 37,000 confirmed cases and 1252-1254 deaths per day for the past three days. Russia launched the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, but the complete vaccination rate was 37.2%, which is less than the global average. In addition, Bulgaria and Hungary are facing a direct hit from the new epidemic, recording triple-digit deaths every day.

The UK, which has the world’s fourth-largest cumulative number of confirmed cases, continues to see more than 40,000 confirmed cases and more than 150 deaths every day. The UK is suffering from 60,000 confirmed cases and four-digit deaths every day in January of this year. Even after raising the vaccination rate to 68.6%, the UK is still experiencing a resurgence.

A ‘2G’ policy guide sign is erected at the entrance of a cafe in Berlin, Germany on November 20, 2021. 2G is a measure that allows only those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have recovered from eating and drinking at restaurants and using indoor multi-purpose facilities. © Reuters=News1 © News1 Reporter Choi Seo-yoon
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◇ WHO: 500,000 more may die by March

As Europe’s epidemic situation shows no signs of easing, the World Health Organization (WHO) is sounding the alarm every day.

Hans Kluge, WHO’s European director, warned that “Europe is the epicenter again” and that “unless urgent action is taken, 500,000 more people could die in Europe by March next year.” did.

At the beginning of this month, Director Kluge said, “The rate of infection is currently severe in 53 European countries.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of confirmed cases and deaths around the world was stabilizing around the end of August.

It is analyzed that the infection situation in Europe has gone beyond a regional crisis and is again becoming the epicenter of a pandemic.

◇ Increased anxiety in the northern hemisphere facing winter with Europe, including the US and Asia

While unrest in the northern hemisphere countries facing winter along with Europe is amplifying, concerns are growing in the US that the situation this winter will be worse than predicted.

The United States is closely monitoring the infection situation in Europe and is accelerating the expansion of vaccination. The photo shows a 5-year-old boy receiving a coronavirus vaccine in Denver, Colorado on the 3rd. © AFP=News1

According to the Guardian, the weekly average daily number of confirmed cases in the United States stood at 93,196 as of the 19th, up 33% from the third week of October a month ago (7271 as of the 25th). There is an observation that the 100,000 mark is not far off, and on the 19th, 111,829 people were confirmed (1333 deaths).

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The Los Angeles Times analyzed last week that “the aftermath of infection in Europe has often been a harbinger of similar suffering across the Atlantic since the beginning of the pandemic,” the Washington Post reported. We are pushing to expand booster shots quickly.”

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved Pfizer and Moderna Booster shots for all adults on the 19th. It was done very quickly.

Whether or not the spread of Europe evolves is expected to be a major crossroads for the global quarantine policy that has been waiting for ‘With Corona’, including the Northern Hemisphere. European countries are reviewing measures to make booster shots mandatory and speeding up vaccination, while some countries such as Germany and Austria have even pulled out a lockdown card.

But aside from vaccines and quarantines, Undark also stressed that humanity has another reason to be cautiously optimistic about the situation. Following the vaccine launched in December last year, the news is due to the release of an oral antiviral drug that is currently awaiting approval from US regulators.

Merck’s pill-type treatment molupiravir received approval for use by the UK drug regulatory authority on the 4th, and is expected to receive approval from the FDA’s expert advisory committee on the 30th. Pfizer also applied for approval to use Paxrovid with the FDA on the 16th.

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