A member of the medical staff treats a patient suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Slany Hospital in Slany, Czech Republic, on October 13, 2020.
David W. Cerny | Reuters
When adjusted for population, the number of new coronavirus infections in Europe has now overtaken the United States. In Europe, 187 new Covid-19 cases per million people have been reported, based on an average of seven days compared to 162 new Covid-19 cases per million people in the US
Overall, Europe, which includes the EU-27 and the UK, reports an average of around 97,000 new cases per day, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, up 44% from a week.
Dr. Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO office for Europe, earlier this week blamed people who do not comply with safety measures for the new wave of infections.
According to Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical director, it’s not just the number of Covid-19 cases that is increasing in Europe. There is also an increase in hospital stays and intensive care admissions, she added.
“We know a number of cities across Europe where intensive care capacities will be reached in the coming weeks,” said Kerkhove on Friday during a press conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “This is worrying as we approach flu season.”
Health officials have repeatedly warned that they are preparing to tackle two nasty viruses that will circulate later this year as the Covid-19 outbreak enters flu season. Kerkhove called on the public to “gather together” on Friday, saying the world is not in the same position as it was six months ago.
“We know so much more,” she said. “There are a lot of comparisons now with what we saw in March. But the massive difference right now is that we have increased testing capacity, we have a public health workforce that is compared to where we were in March , has increased, we have medical facilities with beds that are better trained and have better experience dealing with Covid-19. “
She said people should wash their hands regularly, wear masks, keep their distance from others, and avoid going to crowded places.
“Everyone is helping to get this under control,” she said. “It’s a number of things. It’s not just wearing masks. Masks must be used as part of a comprehensive package.”
“I know this is aimed at Europe, but it is everywhere,” she added. “In all of the decisions we make every day, we have some control over how we organize our daily lives. … Please do everything.”
The comments come shortly after the WHO released interim results from its solidarity therapeutics study Gilead Sciences’ had antiviral drug remdesivir “little or no effect” on death rates in hospital patients.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that dexamethasone, a widely used steroid, remains the only therapeutic that has been shown to be effective against severe coronavirus infections.
–CNBC’s Sam Meredith and Nate Rattner contributed to this report.