Experts Just Issued This Big COVID Warning Out of Europe
The World Health Organization's European director Hans Kluge said today that the COVID-19 "variant of concern" was gradually taking over Europe. This variant is more transmissible, and more deadly, posing a possible 61% higher risk of death, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. Read on to see what this means for Americans—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Kluge Said the Variant is Taking Over Europe
"Some 48 out of 53 European countries or territories have reported the B.1.1.7 variant of concern, which is gradually becoming predominant in our region." "Our analysis suggests that B.1.1.7 is not only more transmissible than preexisting SARS-CoV-2 variants, but may also cause more severe illness," wrote the researchers in Nature.
Kluge Said Countries Should Still Use the AstraZeneca Vaccine
"As of now, we do not know whether some or all of the conditions have been caused by the vaccine or by other coincidental factors," he said, adding: "At this point in time, however, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh its risks – and its use should continue, to save lives."
Kluge Said Europe Needed to Rebuild Public Trust
"We need to renew confidence, if it's lost, to restore it – especially for AstraZeneca," he said. "Basically we do this by transparency, so communication from day one is very important," he added. "Number two is showing empathy with the people. And number three is to be competent."
Why This Matters to Americans
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted this week that cases are plateauing here in America. (Since then, they have started to go up.) "When we see that leveling off at a high level, there's always a surge of a risk back up. And in fact, unfortunately, that's exactly what's happening in Europe right now," he said on Fox News Sunday. Europe, which "always seems to be a few weeks ahead of us…thought that they were home free and they weren't. And now they're seeing an increase up. We have to avoid that," he said.
How to Stay Safe During the Pandemic
Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.