The specter of Corona haunts the old continent again .. Why are infections soaring in Europe despite vaccination efforts?

Corona cases began to rise steadily throughout the European Union, from 200 infections per million in mid-February to 270 cases per million people at the end of last week. Although this level of injuries is still far from the European Union record of 490 injuries per million last November, it is taking a worrying trend, according to doctors and observers, which brings to mind what happened to the old continent last year.

The specter of Corona haunts Europe again

It seems that the specter of the peak of injuries and deaths that haunted Italy last year is returning to it now, as most regions in Italy, including Rome and Milan, are now classified as “high risk”, and there will be a national lockdown for three days on Eid. Easter, next April 4.

Says Italian doctor He refused to reveal his identity to AJEnglish: “We were in a period of relative stability in December and January, but now the numbers are deteriorating again very quickly. We are tired of all this.”

According to CNN Report Italian doctors are warning of concerns about the life expectancy and medical condition of new Corona patients, as many have noticed a shift. Most of the patients are no longer elderly with chronic diseases on hospital wards, but also people under the age of 50, who were previously in good health.

And in many parts of Eastern Europe as well, in countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic, Corona infection numbers are increasing in an unprecedented way, so what are the reasons behind the increase in infections despite the vaccination efforts with various Corona vaccines led by European governments?

In the Norwegian capital, Oslo, the government decided to close schools, until the sixth of next April, and the official news agency, Tuesday morning, quoted a member of the city council, Raymond Johansen, that the closure is “an urgent measure to confront the third wave of infection,” considering that ” The last measures are the deepest and comprehensive “since the virus appeared about a year ago in Scandinavia.

More infectious strains, slower rates of vaccination

Last year, Italy became the western epicenter of the epidemic, when the virus first spread across the continent, and images of military trucks in Bergamo bearing the bodies are still vivid in memory. Soon after, many European countries became mired in a sea of ​​injuries.

But some academics cautioned against viewing the recent increase as a third wave across Europe. And theSays Guillermo Martinez de Tejada, Professor of Microbiology and Parasitology at the University of Navarra in northern Spain, for the English island: “It is clear that some European countries are in trouble, but in other countries, such as Portugal and Spain, the numbers are not very high, and we must now study the case of each Country by country. “

De Tejada stresses that one of the most important reasons for the high number of infections in Europe today is the new strains, especially the British strain, which is said to be 70% more contagious than the first version of the virus. Martínez de Tejada is equally convinced that slow vaccination rates in Europe are also behind the increase.

According to a report by the agency, “Bloomberg“As of last week, the European Union has given 8 first doses per 100 people, compared to 33 for the UK and 25 for the US. The slowdown is due to apparently chronic delays in supplies dating back to January, when lower shipments resulted in Pfizer vaccine sparked disputes with Italy.

According to a Bloomberg report, since then there have been problems in France and Italy with the Moderna vaccine, as well as problems over AstraZeneca’s promised 90 million doses by the end of March, and last week there were reports of supplies of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. The one, which was recently approved by the European Medicines Agency, may also be delayed.

The AstraZeneca vaccine crisis has hindered the vaccination campaign in Europe

After France and Germany joined Ireland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands in suspending the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, even though the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization advise people to continue taking it, it seems that this common reluctance among European governments motivated by “extreme caution” constituted a slowdown in the distribution of vaccines to curb Restrain the virus, says a report To The Guardian British.

These countries had suspended the use of “AstraZeneca” following reports that a small number of people had blood clots after receiving the vaccine, which led to the failure of the vaccination campaign in Europe, and thus the effect of this on the high number of cases.

And governments still suspend this vaccine Scientists baffleThe European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization are investigating these incidents, but there is no evidence yet that the vaccine caused any of them.

Experts say that the number of cases of blood clots and cases of low blood platelets among people who have received the vaccine is not higher than among the population who did not receive the vaccine. The International Society for Hemostasis and Thrombosis, which represents expert doctors worldwide, said on Friday that “the small number of recorded stroke incidents compared to the millions of vaccinations with the Covid-19 vaccine does not indicate a direct link.”

They said that cases of blood clots are common, but they are not more common among people who have injected the Covid vaccine, according to the evidence available so far. And they recommended that even people who have previously had blood clots or are taking blood-thinning medications can receive the vaccine.

And alone among European countries, Cyprus has the highest level of vaccinated people on the continent at the moment, and so far there is no European country close enough to create herd immunity, which is the infection of 60% of the country’s population at its lowest level.

A European struggle between economic concerns, lockdown measures and lax social distancing

Besides these factors, other academics claim that the way some European governments have dealt with the health crisis means that cases will inevitably rise again.

It says His teacher Public and Occupational Health at Pompeo Fabra University in Barcelona, ​​Joan Pinach: “In general, there were three different methods of responding to the virus around the world. There was a“ laissez-faire ”strategy as in the United States and Brazil. On the other hand, in In some East Asian countries, there is a strict “COVID-Zero” policy that has attempted to completely eliminate it with strict collective measures. The third track is the one that dominates Europe now, and it is much more reactive than proactive, at a time when the business sector is greatly affected. “

And she adds: “In Europe, instead of trying to eliminate the virus completely, it was more about tightening restrictions when infection numbers are high, and reducing them again as they improve. It is a permanent game that will not end until after a mass vaccination, and this will take months, and maybe throughout the year.”

And in Italy Doctors warn against not adhering to physical distancing measures, and believing that the crisis has ended in conjunction with the launch of vaccines could lead to disaster soon. Doctors say that many residents still feel that they are not at risk, and some are even “happily violating” the rules of social distancing, which could put an end to the year-long sacrifice of the medical sector.

In the context, the main conflict in Europe between economic interests and social restrictions appeared again recently, when the German company Eurowings announced 300 additional flights to Mallorca – a Spanish tourist island – during Easter, after Germany relaxed travel warnings for some parts of Spain.

Hotels in Germany are currently closed, and the German Foreign Ministry advises against unnecessary tourist travel, and Spaniards are prohibited from unnecessary travel outside their region, but tourists from Germany to Mallorca will only need a negative PCR test to enter the country, and there will be no need for quarantine upon their return.

Europe faces an arduous struggle with Corona again

At the same time, due to lax social distancing, Rose in Germany The average number of positive cases of corona for a period of 14 days increased by 26%, to more than 17,000, this week. Lothar Wheeler, head of the German Robert Koch Institute that deals with epidemic data in the country, warned of “the onset of a third wave.”

He said, “There has not been another wave in Europe yet, but given the number of waves that we have seen so far, another wave will not be a surprise. The main question is how can we prevent that.”

Given the slowdown in vaccine distribution, economic concerns about lockdown measures, the great laxity of spacing and commitment to it, and the emergence of the newest and most contagious strains of the Coronavirus, Europe appears to be in an uphill struggle again with this pandemic.

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