European officials say Delta driving deteriorating COVID-19 situation

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COVID-19 cases in European Union (EU) and related countries rose 64% this week compared to the previous week, with the situation likely to get worse as Delta (B1617.2) variant activity continues to expand, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today.

Cases rising in 20 European countries

The report covers EU member countries, plus ones that are part of the European Economic Area. The report doesn't not include the United Kingdom, where COVID-19 activity is surging and is at its highest level since January.

Cases are on the rise in 20 countries, with people ages 15 to 24 the hardest hit group and more limited impact on those older than 65.

So far, the impact on health systems has been minimal in most countries. Hospitalization rates—one of the severity indicators—are stable, though levels are rising in three countries: Cyprus, Portugal, and Finland. Overall, the region's intensive care unit (ICU) levels are decreasing, but two countries—Cyprus and Portugal—are reporting rises.

The Delta variant predominance in the countries covered in the report ranges from 0.7% to 87.3%, averaging 39.1% for the region.

In the UK, Delta variant cases rose 17% last week, accounting for 99% of sequenced cases, Public Health England said today in its regular weekly update.

Jenny Harries, MD, chief executive of the UK's Health Security Agency, said case rates are still high and rising, but the trend still doesn't seem to be driving a rise in hospitalizations and deaths. "This is testament to the continued success of the vaccination programme in reducing the incidence of severe disease."

More global headlines

  • Indonesia today reported a record daily high for deaths, with 1,025 more fatalities in its ongoing surge. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Thailand and Vietnam both reported new daily highs for cases, and Singapore delayed its reopening, due to a rise in activity linked to karaoke bars.

  • In a new report today, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that HIV infection increases the risk of severe and critical COVID-19 illness. The report, based on clinical data from 37 countries, reveals that 23.1% of people who are living with HIV and were hospitalized with COVID-19 died.

  • Chinese officials said they are reviewing a WHO proposal for the next phase of a study into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to Bloomberg News.

  • The global total today rose to 188,932,826 cases, with at least 4,065,896 deaths, according to the New York Times.

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