Europe Sees Increase In Covid-19 Cases For Fifth-Straight Week As Many Countries Reach Unsettling Milestones

Europe Sees Increase In Covid-19 Cases For Fifth-Straight Week As Many Countries Reach Unsettling Milestones

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported Tuesday a 6% increase in new weekly Covid-19 cases in Europe, marking a fifth-straight week in which cases have increased in the region compared to a decline or stabilization in all others—the report comes as several countries have reached unsettling milestones and reimposed restrictions.

KEY FACTS

Russia’s Covid-19 task force reported the country had reached a single-day record of 1,189 deaths Tuesday, and it reported more than 40,000 daily cases for the fifth time in seven days—the Russian government implemented a nationwide non-working period last week, according to ABC News.

Greece recorded 6,856 new cases on Tuesday, their highest 24-hour figure ever, forcing the Greek government to impose new restrictions and increased testing on unvaccinated people, Greek health minister Thanos Plevris told the New York Times.

U.K. epidemiology professor Jonathan Van Tam warned of “hard months to come in the winter” on Wednesday—the British government reported 293 deaths on Tuesday, its highest daily total since February, according to NPR.

French health authorities reported 10,050 daily new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, passing 10,000 for the first time since September 14, with 6,764 hospitalized, according to Reuters.

- The Dutch government announced Tuesday that it would reinstate restrictions such as social distancing and mask mandates in public spaces, and has urged its citizens to work from home at least part-time—the country tallied 7,744 new cases on Sunday, the country’s highest figure since July, according to Politico.

Germany reported 2,220 patients in intensive care units Wednesday, its highest figure since the beginning of June, according to The Guardian.

KEY BACKGROUND

Apparent reasons for this nearly continent-wide serge vary based on region. WHO experts point to low vaccination rates as the root cause of Russia and other Eastern European countries’ spike in cases and deaths—Ukraine has the second-lowest vaccination rate in all of Europe at 17%. In the U.K., some experts believe waning immunity (Britain was quicker to vaccinate many of its citizens than some other European countries) and reliance on the less effective AstraZeneca vaccine are causing an increase in infections.A new U.K. study found that households with children “have a higher prevalence of infection, indicating that children could be driving up infection rates” German experts say a flatline in vaccinations (67% of the country has received the jab, though that figure has only risen five percentage points since July) is to blame. Across the continent, governments are aiming to implement booster shots to fight the new wave.

BIG NUMBER

36. That’s the number of countries across Europe out of 43 total that have seen an increase in their average daily cases in the most recent 14-day period according to the New York Times’ vaccine tracker, with only Belarus, Moldova, Monaco, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and the U.K. showing a decreasing 14-day trend.