COVID-19 surges expand in Europe

COVID patient in hospital room
COVID patient in hospital room

Povozniuk / iStock

Although some parts of Europe, especially eastern nations, have been in the grips of new spikes in COVID-19 activity over the past several weeks, nations like Denmark and France are now seeing impacts and taking steps to curb the spread.

Record deaths in some, health system pressure in others

At least three countries, all with low vaccination rates, reported new daily record highs for deaths: Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, according to media reports.

Russia recently ended a week-long non-working period, and federal officials said it's too soon to tell if the step helped cut transmission, according to the Washington Post, which said less than 40% of the country is fully vaccinated.

Cases are on the rise, however, even in countries with robust vaccine uptake. In the Netherlands, where cases have been rising since early October, the adult vaccination level is about 85%. A hospital group in the southern province of Limburg today urged the government to take stronger measures, warning that they are out of space and staff and that other areas may soon face similar situations, according to Reuters.

The Dutch government is rolling out booster doses to adults older than 60, and the government has said it will announce whether other measures are needed at a Nov 12 briefing.

Elsewhere, Denmark's cases are starting to rise steadily, and government officials yesterday said they are considering bringing back the digital "corona pass," which people would need for entering bars and restaurants and attending indoor gatherings, according to Reuters. The pass verifies whether the holder is vaccinated or has tested negative for the coronavirus, and was among the restrictions lifted by the Danish government in September.

France is reporting rising hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, with President Emmanuel Macron slated to outline the next steps in an evening address to the nation.

More global headlines

  • Moderna today announced that it has applied to the European Medicines Agency for emergency use of its mRNA vaccine in children ages 6 to 11 years.

  • French health officials yesterday recommended that people younger than 30 get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rather than Moderna when possible, due to a lower risk of cardiac side effects.

  • The global total today climbed to 250,689,612 cases, with 5,061,650 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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