Europe passed 75 million coronavirus cases on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as the region braces for the new Omicron variant at a time when hospitals in some countries are already under pressure from the current wave.
More than 15 countries in Europe have reported confirmed cases of the new variant shaking the financial markets. The European Union’s public health agency said on Thursday that the Omicron variant could be responsible for more than half of all COVID-19 infections in Europe within months.
Even before the discovery of Omicron, Europe was the epicenter of the pandemic with 66 out of 100 new infections a day coming from European countries, according to a Reuters analysis.
Eastern Europe has 33% of the total number of reported cases and about 53% of the total number of reported deaths in Europe. It makes up 39% of the region’s population.
The United Kingdom has so far reported the highest total number of coronavirus cases in the region, followed by Russia, France and Germany.
Reuters data shows that the pace of the pandemic has accelerated in the second half of 2021. Europe has reported the highest daily average of 359,000 new cases in the second half of the year, compared to the highest daily cases of about 241,000 per day in the first half of the year. year.
It took the European region 136 days to go from 50 million cases to 75 million, compared to 194 days to get from 25 to 50 million, with the first 25 million cases reported in 350 days.
To counter that wave, several European governments have again restricted activities, ranging from the complete shutdown in Austria to a partial shutdown in the Netherlands and restrictions on unvaccinated people in parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Vaccine hesitation is a global phenomenon, but experts say Central Europeans may be particularly skeptical, decades after the collapse of communist rule eroded public confidence in state institutions.
In Latvia, one of the least vaccinated countries in the EU, bodies ended up piled up in the morgue, unclaimed for days, as relatives fight in line in cemeteries to bury them. Hospitals in the Czech Republic, where only 62% of the population has received at least one dose, are under pressure from the number of COVID patients.
The German Air Force has transferred COVID patients from entire hospitals to others within the country using “flying intensive care units”.
In Ukraine, where only 30% have received at least a first dose, the average number of COVID deaths per day has recently set records.
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