Europe exceeds 75 million cases of COVID-19 in full ómicron boom

By Aparupa Mazumder

Dec 3 (Reuters) – Europe surpassed 75 million coronavirus cases on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as the region prepares for the new omicron variant as hospitals in some countries are already overwhelmed by the current surge. .

More than 15 countries in Europe have reported confirmed cases of the new variant that has rocked the financial markets in the last week. The European Union public health agency said Thursday that the omicron variant could be responsible for more than half of all COVID-19 infections in Europe in just a few months.

Even before the discovery of omicron, Europe was the current epicenter of the pandemic, with 66 out of 100 new daily infections coming from European countries, according to a Reuters report.

Eastern Europe accounts for 33% of all reported cases in Europe and about 53% of all deaths. In addition, it represents 39% of the population of the region.

So far, the UK has 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 to a peak in the second half of 2021. Europe has reported a daily average of 359,000 new cases in the second half, up from a previous higher of 241,000 daily cases in the first half of the year.

It took the European region 136 days to go from 50 million cases to 75 million, compared to the 194 days it took to go from 25 to 50 million, while the first 25 million cases were registered in 350 days.

To cope with that increase, several countries reimposed limits on activity, from the lockdown in Austria to the partial shutdown in the Netherlands and restrictions on the unvaccinated in parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Skepticism about vaccines among certain sectors of the population is a global phenomenon, but experts say this attitude may be especially representative among Central Europeans, decades after the collapse of the communist regime eroded public trust in state institutions.

In Latvia, one of the countries with the lowest vaccination rate in the EU, bodies in morgues ended up piled on top of each other unclaimed for days, while relatives pile up in cemeteries to bury them.

Hospitals in the Czech Republic, where only 62% of the population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, are overwhelmed by the number of patients with the disease.

In Ukraine, where only 30% have received at least a first dose of the vaccine, the average number of COVID-19 deaths per day has recently broken records. (Information from Aparupa Mazumder, Rittik Biswas and Anurag Maan in Bengaluru; additional information from Lasya Priya M; translation by Darío Fernández. Edited by Javier Leira)

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