Europe is once again at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, fueled by daily record deaths and cases in Russia, and surges in Ukraine, Poland and Germany.
The continent was the only one to post one-week increases: in deaths at 10% and cases at 9%.
Worldwide, cases increased 2 percent with 250.599 million on Sunday but deaths declined 5 percent with the toll reaching 5.064 million, according to tracking by Worldometers.info.
Europe’s death toll stands at 1.327 million, the most of the continents, cases were 66.234 million, second behind Asia.
“We are at another critical point of pandemic resurgence,” said the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European leader, Dr. Hans Kluge. “Europe is back at the epicenter of the pandemic, where we were one year ago.”
Kluge said from WHO’s office in Copenhagen, Denmark, the continent could see half a million more deaths by February.
“We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of Covid-19 to preventing them from happening in the first place,” he said.
He cited a relaxation of public health measures. WHO’s European region covers 53 countries including parts of Central Asia.
On July 19’s “freedom day,” virtually all of England’s restrictions were lifted, including required mask-wearing. Other European nations have instituted passes that require proof of vaccination or a negative test to visit bars and restaurants or work in several fields, including healthcare.
In one week, Russia’s deaths rose 8,255, the most in the world, at 5 percent and cases were up 6 percent, 283,133, which was second to the U.S. at 465,174.
The United States is No. 1 in the world in deaths at 775,218 and cases at 47.336 million.
Russia has exceeded 1,000 deaths every day since Oct. 16. Also, Russia hasn’t been below 700 since July. Last year, deaths reached 635 on December 24.