Coronavirus Update: Europe Sees Record COVID-19 Outbreak

Coronavirus Update: Europe Sees Record COVID-19 Outbreak

Europe is suffering through a record number of COVID-19 cases. The World Health Organization warned the continent could see another 2 million deaths by March 1.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has also recommended booster shots for all adults and prioritizes them for those over the age of 40.

"Available evidence emerging from Israel and the U.K. shows a significant increase in protection against infection and severe disease following a booster dose in all age groups in the short term," the ECDC said on Wednesday.

Countries with low vaccination rates have been advised to speed up rollouts after being warned about a higher risk of death and hospitalizations if precautionary measures are not introduced. France is expected to tighten its restrictions while Portugal plans to vaccinate 25% of its population by the end of January. 

The WHO says deaths in Europe rose by 10% in early November as relaxed restrictions, vaccine hesitancy, and waning immunity have been the three main causes of the recent outbreak, according to experts. 

“Today, the COVID-19 situation across Europe and Central Asia is very serious. We face a challenging winter ahead, but we should not be without hope, because all of us – governments, health authorities, individuals – can take decisive action to stabilize the pandemic,” Dr. Kluge, the regional director for WHO Europe, said in a statement.

Most European countries have experienced vaccination rates of 65% to 70%. Most experts now believe the targeted vaccination rate should be 90% to 95% to achieve population-level immunity.