The Covid-19 epidemic reignites in Europe

The covid epidemic is reactivated in Europe. Several countries are already experiencing a new wave, but the situation is not anticipated like last fall because a large population is vaccinated. Although it does not prevent many infections, the vaccine keeps mortality low.

The European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) has pointed out that the epidemic has been growing for three weeks in the countries of the European Economic Area. In virtually every state. The situation in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Bulgaria is very worrying, with an incidence in the last 14 days (IA14) of 1,883, 1,752, 1,520 and 912 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively.

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Josep Corbella

The ECDC also describes the epidemic in 12 countries as worrisome: Slovenia (AI 14 of 1,351), Romania (1,101), Croatia (971), Slovakia (884), Belgium (649), Ireland (632), Netherlands (459) , Greece (445), Hungary (310), Germany (273), Luxembourg (335) and Liechtenstein (226). In some cases because the incidence is very high or grows very fast; in others, due to the small vaccinated population. In other states, the increase is more contained.

Only Italy, Sweden, Spain and Malta have an AI 14 lower than 100. The lowest, in Malta (42) and Spain, with 57 cases according to the ECDC, although the Ministry of Health has an average of 49.8 in the entire state .

Belgium or Ireland, with strong growth, are experiencing a new wave

Between this week and next, the ECDC expects 19 countries to worsen (although in Latvia or Romania it seems that stabilization is being reached). Only a dozen, Spain among them, will maintain a 7-day AI of less than 150 cases. In Spain it is 24, according to Health data.

The Computational Biology team (Biocomsc) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), which monitors the epidemic, in its report on Friday, points out that in countries with a good level of vaccination, the epidemic grows less strongly.

In countries with more vaccination, the rise is more contained and mortality remains low

But there are exceptions: states like Belgium and Ireland where, despite the high vaccination rate, the incidence rises explosively. Can you talk about new wave? “In countries like these, clearly yes,” says Daniel López Codina, an analyst at Biocomsc.

He adds that, where there is more vaccinated population, mortality remains low: in Belgium there are 20 deaths per million inhabitants in the last 14 days; in Ireland, 26 (in ECDC data). But in both countries, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, income in the ucis rises.

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Where vaccination coverage is low and a new wave sweeps the country, mortality increases. It is very high in Latvia (49% of the population with the complete vaccination regimen) and Lithuania (61% of vaccinated), with 177 and 163 deaths per million. In Russia, in full new wave, with 40,000 new cases of covid yesterday, the mortality rate is 97 (it must be taken into account that it is a highly populated country, in recent days there have been more than 1,000 deaths a day).

The rate rises even more in Bulgaria, with 253 deaths, and Romania, with 316, countries with the lowest vaccination in the European Union (EU), 21% and 30.8%, respectively. In comparison, in Spain the mortality rate is 8.4 and 78.6% of the population is vaccinated. In the whole EU it is with the complete guideline 64%.

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Marta Ricart

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 13, 2021, Aiden Arthurs receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine from Pharmacist Andrew Mac (R) in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. - A high level medical panel of US government advisors was meeting on October 26, 2021, to decide whether to authorize the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in five-to-11-year-olds, likely paving the way for younger children to get their shots within weeks. If, as expected, the independent experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vote in favor, it will set in motion actions leading to 28 million more Americans becoming eligible for immunization. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP)

López Codina points out that it is difficult to make forecasts. The model of previous waves is not valid, with less vaccinated. There were none last fall. “It is clear that the epidemic has not ended and that we must go to a vaccination close to 80% to protect it,” he says.

In Spain

The incidence can be kept low but it will surely rise

Remember that in most countries the virus containment measures have been eliminated, apart from the fact that when temperatures fall, more life is made indoors, which favors contagion. Some countries restore restrictions (Latvia, for example, lockdown and night curfew) and others will have to do so if infections continue to rise and hospitalizations increase.

In Spain, which has eliminated almost all the measures this October, the analyst points out that it is possible that the incidence remains low and, with it, the little healthcare pressure, although the infections will surely increase. It is what is seen in other countries, such as Denmark, with an AI of 309 already, although it has a similar vaccination to Spain and that eliminated all restrictions at the beginning of the month. How much can infections rise in Spain? It is impossible to predict.

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