Europe

Europe’s COVID deaths top 1 million as pandemic hits ‘critical point’

Europe”s coronavirus deaths on Monday passed the one-million mark as the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic had reached a “critical point.”

The death toll across Europe’s 52 countries, compiled by AFP from official sources, totalled at least 1,000,288.

That is more than Latin America and the Caribbean (832,577 deaths), the United States/Canada (585,428 deaths) and Asia (285,824 deaths).

“We are in a critical point of the pandemic right now,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, told reporters on Monday.

“The trajectory of this pandemic is growing. It is growing exponentially. This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, when we have proven control measures,” she said.

Disparities from country to country

According to the data compiled by AFP, six countries accounted for nearly 60% of all coronavirus deaths in Europe:

  • The United Kingdom with 127,100 deaths;
  • Italy with 114,612 deaths;
  • Russia with 103,263 deaths;
  • France with 99,163 deaths;
  • Germany with 78,452 deaths;
  • Spain with 76,525 deaths.

But even within this group of countries, there were important disparities. The United Kingdom, after recording up to 8,700 deaths in one week at the end of January, has seen the epidemic decline sharply in recent weeks with just 238 deaths recorded in the past seven days.

The country started to ease restrictions on Monday after 60% of the adult population received a first dose of vaccine.

Other countries like Italy (3,200 deaths since last Tuesday), Russia (2,500) and France (2,200) were struggling with a deadly third wave.

Regarding deaths relative to population, the most affected countries in the world were in Europe, according to AFP. The Czech Republic ranked first with 261 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Hungary (245) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (228).

While Europeans make up one-ninth of the world population, deaths recorded in Europe represented more than a third of the 2.94 million victims of the pandemic recorded worldwide.

On a more positive note, coronavirus deaths in Europe have stabilised since the end of March. Europe recorded 27,036 deaths last week, well below the 40,178 reported from January 14 to 20.

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