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WHO: European COVID-19 Mortality to Rise in October, November


Police officers talk to a man while wearing protective face masks as precaution against the conoravirus at Tocadero plaza near Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sept. 14, 2020.

The head of the World Health Organization’s European branch says his organization expects a rising number of COVID-19 deaths in October and November.

In an interview with the AFP news agency Monday, Hans Kluge said, “It’s going to get tougher. In October, November, we are going to see more mortality.”

Kluge also warned that a vaccine would not herald the end of the pandemic. “I hear the whole time: ‘the vaccine is going to be the end of the pandemic,’ Of course not!" he said.

"We don't even know if the vaccine is going to help all population groups. We are getting some signs now that it will help for one group and not for the other," he said. "And then if we have to order different vaccines, what a logistical nightmare.”

Kluge said the end of the pandemic will be “the moment that we as a community are going to learn how to live with this pandemic.”

There are more than 29 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 924,000 global deaths from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins statistics as of early Monday.

On Sunday, WHO reported a record one-day increase of 307,930 cases.

The previous one-day new-case record was 306,857 on September 6, according to the WHO. The one-day record for deaths was 12,430 on April 17.

People pack the Ipanema beach amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept.6, 2020.
People pack the Ipanema beach amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept.6, 2020.

The U.S. has more COVID-19 infections than anyplace else with over six million cases, followed by India with 4.8 million and Brazil with 4.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins statistics.

An article in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that universal face mask wearing “might help reduce the severity of disease and ensure that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic.”

If that premise is correct, the article suggested, face mask wearing could become a form of inoculation “that would generate immunity and thereby slow the spread of the virus” during the global wait for the development of a vaccine.

The daily number of new coronavirus cases reached an all-time high of 1,007 Saturday in the United Arab Emirates, surpassing levels during a May peak. Authorities warned residents last week to comply with preventive measures when daily infections jumped fivefold over a month ago.

The British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has resumed trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine after getting permission from safety monitors, the company announced Saturday.

“Clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine, AZD1222, have resumed in the UK following confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority that it was safe to do so,” the company said in a statement.

The pharmaceutical company paused the trials Tuesday because a volunteer participant became ill after receiving the experimental drug. The company issued a statement that day saying the pause in testing was a “routine action, which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.”

AstraZeneca’s drug is one of nine vaccine candidates in late stage Phase 3 human trials around the world.

The company began enrolling 30,000 volunteers August 31, and the vaccine was being tested in smaller groups in Brazil and in other South American countries before the trials were suspended.