As infection rates rise for COVID-19 and its highly transmissible Delta variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that Europe is presently slated to add 236,000 more COVID-related fatalities to the 4.5 million global deaths.
Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, emphasized that several countries have recently been confronted with “an increased burden on hospitals” and more COVID-19-related deaths.
“Last week, there was an 11% increase in the number of deaths in the region — one reliable projection is expecting 236,000 deaths in Europe, by Dec. 1,” Kluge said.
The WHO’s three-month death toll project came alongside a vote by the Council of the European Union to recommend reinstating a ban on non-essential travel coming to Europe from the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia.
Last year, the EU cited the COVID pandemic as justification for its ban on all non-essential travel from the US. The prohibition
remained in place until June 18
, around the time the US observed positive vaccination trends.
Slovenia, which presently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, officially filed the recommendation against non-essential US travel. Per EU criteria, a non-EU country cannot have “more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.”
Within recent weeks, the 14-day infection rate for the US was around 507, according to
It is worth noting the EU’s ban is not legally binding, and the decision is ultimately left to individual member-states.
REUTERS / EMILY ELCONIN
As of August 30, the EU’s full list of countries deemed “safe” includes Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, the Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea and Ukraine.
China was dubbed “subject to confirmation,” while the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, were considered “safe.” Taiwan, though not outright referred to as a country, was also deemed safe by the EU.
Dr. Fauci is sounding a similar alarm in the US, urging more than 80 million unvaccinated Americans to step up for the sake of public health. He also expressed support for imposing vaccine mandates for schools, where younger, unvaccinated children remain vulnerable.
“What is going on now is both entirely predictable, but entirely preventable. And you know we know we have the wherewithal with vaccines to turn this around,” he said. “We could turn this around and we could do it efficiently and quickly if we just get those people vaccinated.”
Fauci noted the US is currently on track to observe some 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths by December 1.
Some 74.1% of adults in the US have received at least one vaccination against the contagious disease, according to the
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.