Europe sees increase in COVID infections among older people

Europe sees increase in COVID infections among older people
Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

Europe sees an increase in COVID infections among older people, with rates twice bigger than what the region recorded during the first wave.

There are more people over-65s in some Eastern European countries who are contracting the virus than before, with over 100 in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, and Romania.

Experts are concerned about the higher infection rates among older people because they are much more likely to be hospitalized and carry a higher risk of dying.

The World Health Organization reported that around 88% of all deaths as of late August in Europe were among the over-65 age group. Czech Republic had over-65s made up 14% of weekly infections, with 94% of deaths as of October 11.

When the coronavirus starts infecting older people, hospitals can become overwhelmed as they did in Spain, Italy, and other countries during the first wave.

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The latest data from the Department of Health and Social Care showed that the number of people over 60 who contracted the virus in the UK quadrupled compared to early September.

According to Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, the higher infection rates that are usually observed among younger people have begun to “creep up” into the higher age groups.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s center for disease control, said in its report that the “proportion of cases in older age groups has been increasing” since early September.
Meanwhile, the number of new COVID-19 infections among older people in France has tripled in six weeks, according to the French health agency.
In Spain, while the median age of new COVID patients fell from 40 in late July to 37 in late August, it has recently risen again to 39.

Europe’s coronavirus outbreak

The WHO finds the coronavirus outbreak in Europe “concerning” as the number of intensive care beds shrinks.

The spike of cases across the region compelled France to announce a public health state of emergency. Germany and the UK implemented new measures in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO’s Europe office, believes that the cause of the increase of new coronavirus cases is the public’s lack of compliance when it comes to health and safety protocols.

According to Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead, Europe is not only seeing an increase in coronavirus cases. It faces an increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Meanwhile, pandemic fatigue is considered the root cause of COVID-19 resurgence in several parts of Europe, particularly in Spain and France.

“There are some worrying trends that we’re starting to see,” said Kerkhove. “What is really worrying I think for us is that we’re not only seeing an increase in the case numbers, but we’re seeing an increase in the hospitalizations. We’re seeing increases in ICUs,” she said.

Moreover, Kerkhove noted the spikes in cases in several European countries, such as Georgia, Spain, France, Montenegro, and Ukraine. She mentioned that some American states have outbreaks as the flu season arrives and this may overcome the health system.

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