Xinhua News Agency, London, July 29. As the mutated new coronavirus Omicron continues to evolve into subtypes with higher infectivity and invisibility, the epidemic in Europe and the United States has repeated repeatedly, and the number of confirmed and dead cases in some countries has peaked again. Experts from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned that Europe is already in a new round of epidemics.
However, given that many European countries have gradually lifted epidemic prevention and control measures since this spring, people who have returned to normal life have become less vigilant about the rise of the epidemic. In this regard, many medical experts believe that the current situation of the epidemic should sound the alarm for people. The continuous mutation of the virus brings uncertainty, and the unpredictable virus may cause a pandemic at any time.
Infection data continues to rise
Affected by the relaxation of epidemic prevention measures and the mutated virus strain, the number of new crown infections in Europe has increased rapidly recently, and it has been caught in a new round of epidemic whirlpool. Data show that the cumulative number of confirmed cases in France and Germany has exceeded 30 million; the positive rate of new crown tests in all parts of the UK is increasing, and the number of deaths from new crown has exceeded 200,000 at the end of June.
According to the latest data provided by the Spanish Ministry of Health, the number of confirmed cases in Spain has exceeded 13 million. Health Minister Carolina Darias said she expects Spain to start the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the autumn.
A man walks through the center of Valencia, Spain, on February 11. Spain lifted the requirement to wear masks outdoors on February 10. Published by Xinhua News Agency (Photo by Pablo Morano)
According to the latest data released on the website of the Swiss Federal Office of Health, in the week from July 19 to 26, a total of 37,738 new cases were reported in Switzerland. The Swiss government recommends that people over the age of 80 get a booster shot of the new crown vaccine.
Kluge, director of the World Health Organization's regional office for Europe, said in a statement on the 19th that in the past six weeks, the number of new crown cases in the European region has tripled. Nearly 3,000 people in Europe are dying each week from the coronavirus as infection rates continue to rise among the elderly population.
Swedish TV recently quoted Agorica Baka, a senior expert at the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying that the number of hospitalizations and the death rate will continue to rise in the coming weeks. The new round of the new crown epidemic is mainly caused by the new subtypes BA.4 and BA.5 of the Omicron strain, and its infections currently account for 80% of the new cases in Europe.
The current situation of the epidemic is sounding the alarm
Barca said that in order to reduce the spread of the virus, Europe may have to restore some epidemic prevention measures, such as wearing masks on public transport and limiting the number of large gatherings.
Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, told Xinhua that the current situation of the epidemic should be a wake-up call because "the reality is not in the post-pandemic stage as some people would like to believe."
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the new coronavirus has been iterated continuously. The Omicron variant strain, which began to spread on a large scale at the end of 2021, has now become the dominant strain in the world. The dominance of the original strains BA.1 and BA.2 was quickly replaced by BA.4. and BA.5 replaced.
On July 18, in Prague, Czech Republic, medical staff vaccinated a man against the new crown. The Czech Ministry of Health previously announced that from July 18, people over the age of 18 in the country can receive a second booster dose of the new crown vaccine. Published by Xinhua News Agency (Photo by Dana Koshnerova)
Some experts believe that Europe and the United States are "lying flat" in the fight against the epidemic, increasing the risk of new mutant strains appearing. Richard Hachett, chief executive of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said that as long as the virus spreads at a high rate, and as long as there are unprotected groups, it is possible to create an environment for the virus to mutate. Viruses are constantly evolving, and unpredictable viruses have the potential to cause a pandemic at any time.
Experts warn that the currently predominant Omicron strain has evolved to be "very good" at evading immune responses and causing infection. Virologist Stephen Griffin, associate professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, said reinfection rates from the mutant strains had also increased significantly, highlighting the evasion ability of the mutant strains and the speed with which they could set off waves of infection around the world worry. (Reporters: Guo Shuang, Zhao Xiaona, Meng Dingbo, Jiang Xuelan, Fu Yiming; Reporter: Gustavo Valente; Editor: Sun Shuo; Editors: Zhang Dailei, Wang Kewen, Zhang Miao, Chen Yong, Qian Zheng)
【Correction】 【Editor in charge: Zhang Xuye, Liu Zhongling】
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