World Health Organisation warns “pandemic is far from over” as COVID-19 surges through Europe

By Thomas Scripps

Europe is driving a new global upsurge of COVID-19. Total worldwide cases have now increased for the last two weeks to an average of over 430,000 recorded infections per day. With cases falling or stable in every other region, the growth is entirely down to a massive spread of the virus on the European continent.

Cases rocketed from mid-June to late July, driven overwhelmingly by the United Kingdom. After falling slightly in the period to mid-September, they have shot up again as part of a more generalised spread of the disease, concentrated particularly in Eastern Europe as well as the UK.

In the week to last Sunday, the seven-day European average of daily new cases increased by nearly 11 percent. Over 220,000 people are now being infected every day. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Europe is registering more than twice the number of daily cases per million (299) than the next-highest region, North America (139). Over 3,000 people in Europe are being killed by COVID-19 each day—34 percent higher than the same time last year.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented last week, “The global number of reported cases and deaths from COVID-19 is now increasing for the first time in two months, driven by an ongoing rise in Europe that outweighs declines in other regions. It’s another reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.”

Expressing the homicidal policies of the entire ruling class, however, WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge urged the continent’s governments to keep schools open this winter, accompanied by a range of (inadequate) mitigation measures. He claimed, “Last year’s widespread school closures, disrupting the education of millions of children and adolescents, did more harm than good, especially to children’s mental and social well-being. We can’t repeat the same mistakes.”

The cost of keeping open schools and the economy in the middle of a raging pandemic—a policy driven by the profit motives of the ultra-wealthy—is already playing out across the continent, even before the winter months begin to bite.

The growth of infections in many Central and Eastern European and Balkan countries is astronomical. Official daily case rates are the highest they have ever been in Estonia (1,286 per million), Latvia (1,268), Slovenia (1,095), Slovakia (715), Bulgaria (685), Ukraine (526), Greece (355) and Russia (259), and are rapidly on their way to their highest ever values in Lithuania (1,090) and Croatia (876).

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