First signs of a new wave of COVID-19 seen in the coldest countries – POLITICO

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging in northern Europe where colder, wetter weather is first felt across the bloc.

The latest data from Belgium, the United Kingdom and Denmark indicate a gradual increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations.

Belgium’s health authority said its modeling indicated a new wave of COVID-19 would hit in mid-October. Its data released on Friday suggests that the first ripples of this wave have already arrived.

Belgium reported a 17% increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in the week to September 19 compared to the previous week. Hospitalizations in the week to September 22 were more stable, increasing by 4%, the public health authority said.

The Danish Institute for Infectious Diseases has reported the first data indicating a reversal in infection rates, which, after a long period of decline, are stabilizing or increasing slightly in the regions.

The institute also noted that hospitalizations increased by 6% in the past week, compared to the previous week. “People aged 70 to 89 remain the largest group among new admissions, as they have been since the start of the year,” the institute said.

And in the UK, the number of new cases in the week to September 17 was 13% higher than the previous week, while hospitalizations increased by 17% in the week to September. September 19.

Public health authorities, including the World Health Organization, have been warning for some months that cases are likely to rise again this cold season. The pressure on health systems is of particular concern, especially with an expected increase in other respiratory viruses such as influenza this winter.

“While COVID-19 rates are still low, the latest data for the past seven days indicates an increase in hospitalizations and an increase in community-reported positive tests,” said Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at UK Health. Security Agency.

Hopkins urged those eligible to come in for their fall vaccine booster, “as soon as possible,” to boost their immune protection ahead of winter.

Europe has authorized boosters that target two types of the Omicron variant, including the currently dominant one. The UK has so far approved a new booster that targets the first Omicron strain and has purchased enough for almost the entire population.

“All available boosters provide good protection against severe COVID-19 illnesses,” Hopkins said.

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