Europe: Another huge Covid wave is building right across the continent

Almost every country in Europe is now seeing a big increase in Covid cases. In many instances, the waves are already higher than the December 2021 wave.

The chart above shows the situation in Europe at the moment. The pandemic seems to have shifted into an entirely different gear. 

The chart below shows a comparison with previous Covid waves:

 

The current wave in Europe is not entirely made up of Omicron cases either. In some countries, more than 50% of cases are still Delta variant.

 

Last year’s winter wave of 2020/2021 showed signs of having had a double peak, one in November/December 2020, the other in January 2021, with a further lift in cases in March 2021, but all of them were on a much smaller scale than this new winter wave:

 

Under the circumstances, removing all Covid mitigations now, as the UK is proposing to do, would be completely insane.

 

So what can we do? Well, we can do what we should have been doing since February 2020!
  • FREE masks – FFP2 minimum
  • FREE testing
  • FREE ventilation installations, particularly schools and shops
  • Full sick pay for self-isolation of up to 14 days
  • Smaller classrooms located across communities to protect our kids
  • Working from home wherever possible
  • Less contact, reducing unnecessary interactions
  • Less meetings, less flights, less travel, less cruises, less holidays
  • Less festivals, less concerts, less sports events, less garden parties
  • Eat a better diet
  • Support each other
  • Stop hoping big pharma will bail us out – they won’t, they can’t

The virus has outsmarted us, it has outwitted us, and it’s winning hands down. It’s hardly surprising given how dimwitted and clumsy our response has been so far.

It’s a pandemic. Do we really have to wait for our fourth or fifth infection to work this simple shit out?

Czech Republic abandons mandatory Covid vaccination

“We do not want to deepen fractures in our society.”

The Czech Republic’s new center-right government will not make vaccination against COVID-19 compulsory, scrapping the previous cabinet’s decree requiring people over the age of 60 and workers in healthcare, and social care and security services to get the jab from March, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Wednesday.

“This does not change our stance on vaccination, it is still undoubtedly the best way to fight COVID-19 … However, we do not see reasons for compulsory vaccination, we do not want to deepen fractures in the society,” Fiala told a news conference.

Praguemorning.cz report

 

Czech Singer Hana Horká Dies of Covid After Catching It on Purpose To Avoid Vaccination

A woman from the Czech Republic who was opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations has died after deliberately contracting the disease, according to her son, Jan Rek.

Rek told Czech public radio iRozhlas.cz that his mother had voluntarily exposed herself to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, in order to obtain a health pass that would have allowed her to visit the sauna and theater.

Newsweek report

 

 

 

Image by Rainhard Wiesinger from Pixabay

 

Czech Republic: B.1.640 family cluster identified in Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia

The first case of infection with the B.1.640 coronavirus variant was detected in the Czech Republic, the University Hospital in Hradec Kralove reported. Four members of his family also fell ill.

The infection with variant B.1.640 was confirmed in a 28-year-old man who was initially suspected of having the variant.

The 28-year-old man came on December 19 to Hradec Kralove from Prague, where he worked. The man has not been abroad recently. After four days, he and then four members of his family fell ill. Samples taken from them are sequenced, local sanitary services said.

A spokesman for these services, Veronika Krejczi, said that all infected people showed the classic symptoms of COVID-19 – cough, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, fever. Loss of smell was also reported in two cases. None of the patients were in serious condition. A man infected with variant B.1.640 is not hospitalized.

Polish News report

 

UPDATE 1 – 17th January 2022

The laboratory of the University Hospital Hradec Králové confirmed the first occurrence of another variant of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic in a sample of a man from the Hradec Králové Region. The mutation, designated B.1.640, was confirmed in the laboratory by whole genome sequencing.

“The sample was taken from a man on December 29, 2021 on suspicion of the omicron variant; samples of two relatives are also ready for sequencing. Hygienists are now examining the type of infection in men,” said the director of the University Hospital Hradec Králové, prof. MUDr. Vladimir Palicka, CSc., Dr. hc Sequencing data were provided to the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Academy of Sciences.

Variant B.1.640 was first detected in the Republic of the Congo in September 2021, and has since been detected in various countries in less than four hundred cases, most of which are reported from France.

Press release from University Hospital Hradec Králové

 

France: B.1.640 declared a VOI after more than 500 cases found

 

 

 

Image by karban from Pixabay

Switzerland adds UK, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Egypt and Malawi to travel alert list for Omicron

The Swiss Ministry of Health has put more countries on a quarantine list because of the Omikron variant.

A Twitter message states that travellers from the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Malawi and also the Netherlands must from now on submit a negative test and be quarantined for ten days. Remarkably enough, it is also stated that the Omikron variant has been found in these countries, while no confirmation has yet been given in the Netherlands.

NOS.nl report (in Dutch)

 

 

Omicron “incubated in an immunocompromized person for months or serially passaged in a lab”

Some interesting developments on the possible origins of the new Omicron variant, B.1.1.529…

 

 

https://nextstrain.org/groups/neherlab/ncov/21K

 

Is Omicron another Plague Island export?

 

Germany and Czech Republic impose Covid restrictions on the unvaccinated

The presidents of the states of Germany have agreed on Thursday with the central government to introduce restrictions on public life for people who have not been vaccinated against covid-19.

Sources present at the meeting of the German authorities cited by the DPA news agency have confirmed that the facilities focused on leisure, culture or sports, among others, will only be accessible to people with the full vaccination schedule or who are have recovered from the coronavirus.

El Periodico report

 

Czech Republic: From Monday, entry to pubs, restaurants, sporting and cultural events, and hairdressers, will be restricted to those who have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid-19. Negative tests will no longer be accepted as sufficient protection. The announcement follows a record daily high in confirmed cases on Tuesday, of 22,479, around 50% more than the preceding Tuesday.

BRNOdaily.com report

 

Has anyone told these governments that the Covid vaccines don’t prevent transmission of Sars-Cov-2 yet?

 

Prediction: European Covid winter wave of 2021 will be the worst wave of the pandemic so far

 

Image by Lubos Houska from Pixabay

Europe: all-time Covid infection record broken by growing winter superwave

Europe has broken through its all-time high for Covid cases, and is seeing sharp increases in infections right across the continent. The Covid superwave that started in Eastern Europe just one month ago has now spread to all corners of the continent, and doesn’t look like it’s about to break anytime soon.

Virtually every part of Europe is now seeing increases in infections as the winter superwave rolls in.

 

Virtually every government in Europe has pinned its hopes on Covid vaccines preventing further large waves of the disease, a tactic that we have repeatedly warned wouldn’t work. It has been obvious for months that vaccine waning and vaccine breakthroughs would make vaccines a poor first line of defence.

Europe needs to regroup, rethink, and redraw its lines of defence quickly. Greater defence in depth is needed by using mitigations that are proven to work. 

Our estimation of the winter wave of 2020 shown in the diagram below suggests that a wave peak of around 13 – 15 million biweekly cases might have been reached had it not been for the mitigations imposed in Europe and North America in early November 2020.

The 2020 winter wave was broken in half by strong mitigations. It may already be too late to reintroduce them this to year to prevent the worst of the damage from the wave impact.

 

What was the lesson we all learned from earlier waves? Go in hard, go in strong? 

With the half-hearted mitigations that Europe has put in place for the winter wave, it looks as though we are about to find out just how bad things can really get with Covid.

 

Updatable chart for Europe below – press your refresh button to update:

 

Prediction: European Covid winter wave of 2021 will be the worst wave of the pandemic so far

Prediction: European Covid winter wave of 2021 will be the worst wave of the pandemic so far

This isn’t the most difficult prediction we have ever had to make, but there is no doubt that, despite huge vaccination campaigns across the continent, the winter wave now breaking over Europe will be their worst wave of the pandemic so far.

The difference this year is that, despite raging infections in many European countries, despite vaccine waning, vaccine breakthroughs and reinfections, no government is yet considering measures that are strong enough to contain the tide.

Measures including lockdowns and working from home were imposed in many countries across Europe and North America in early November 2020 to prevent the winter wave worsening. Despite their huge unpopularity, the measures, particularly lockdowns, DID work.

The chart below shows our estimation of what the winter wave would have looked like in 2020 without lockdowns. The global winter wave of 2020 was broken in half by lockdowns in key European countries and in North America which made up the bulk of cases.

Our estimation of the size of the Covid global winter wave in 2020. The winter wave was smashed by lockdowns in Europe and North America:

In 2021, however, many countries in Europe have abandoned the use face masks, social distancing and working from home. Lockdowns have been also been ruled out by many governments, fearful of their unpopularity.

 

The chart below shows what the European Covid winter wave looks like on the 4th November 2021. The wave that is forming is virtually identical to the wave of 2020. The difference in 2021 is that there are no mitigations in reserve to prevent previous wave records being broken.  Without urgent mitigations, this wave could be bigger than the one that engulfed India in the spring of 2021

Europe needs to take its head out of the sand, and do it quickly. There are very few tools left in the toolbox to deal with large waves, and every one of them will be needed this year.

We are still waiting for more data to come in to be able to make a prediction on the size of the global winter wave, but it’s not impossible that Europe alone could carry almost the entire burden of the winter wave this year.

Just to be crystal clear then:

  • Vaccines won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Antivirals won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Vaccine passports won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Face masks won’t be enough to stop the wave
  • Locking up the unvaccinated won’t be enough to stop the wave

 

Europe suddenly ablaze with Covid – it could be the biggest wave yet

 

Decoding Sars-Cov-2: How are global Covid waves formed, and can we predict future waves?

 

Image by Brigitte makes custom works from your photos, thanks a lot from Pixabay

WHO: 500,000 deaths from Covid in Europe this winter

“The current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European Region is of grave concern,” said regional WHO head Hans Kluge.

Kluge warned earlier that if Europe followed its current trajectory, there could be 500,000 COVID-related deaths in the region by February.

“We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of COVID-19, to preventing them from happening in the first place,” he said.

Reuters.com report

 

Covid has surged across large parts of Europe again as a winter wave rolls across the continent:

 

 

Photo by Rianne Gerrits on Unsplash

The waxing and waning of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe shows new danger areas emerging

Europe has seen major changes in coronavirus case rates over the last two months. In many areas of Europe covid case rates have dropped sufficiently to allow restrictions to be eased, but there are notable exceptions. The Covid-19 rate in Spain now appears to be as bad, if not worse, than two months ago, and the Netherlands has seen a dramatic increase in numbers recently.

In the case of both Spain and the Netherlands, the rates increased following the decision to unlock their countries too quickly, and in both cases those decisions have had to reversed within weeks.  Greece too appears to be seeing a new wave, and these areas now represent the largest threat to Europe’s strategy to keeping infection rates down.

Data maps courtesy of ECDC

 

Spain: 5th wave of coronavirus storms across the country, curfews set to be reintroduced

 

Netherlands: the reproduction R rate is now 2.17 – the highest since February 2020

EU: ECHR throws fuel on the #coronavirus vaccination fire – backs mandatory jabs for kids

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that democratic governments can make vaccinations obligatory, in a landmark judgement rejecting complaints brought by Czech families penalised for refusing compulsory jabs for their children.

“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society'” the court ruled, saying that the Czech health policy was consistent with the “best interests” of children.

Our opinion: ** Is there an easier or quicker way of antagonising parents in the middle of a global viral pandemic than encouraging mandatory vaccinations? We can’t think of one. Expect severe blowback **

MedicalExpress.com report

 

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study signed by 14 countries

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.

The Governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response. Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.

The mission of the WHO is critical to advancing global health and health security, and we fully support its experts and staff and recognize their tireless work to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, including understanding how the pandemic started and spread. With such an important mandate, it is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples. Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings. We share these concerns not only for the benefit of learning all we can about the origins of this pandemic, but also to lay a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises.

We note the findings and recommendations, including the need for further studies of animals to find the means of introduction into humans, and urge momentum for expert-driven phase 2 studies.  Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness. In a serious outbreak of an unknown pathogen with pandemic potential, a rapid, independent, expert-led, and unimpeded evaluation of the origins is critical to better prepare our people, our public health institutions, our industries, and our governments to respond successfully to such an outbreak and prevent future pandemics.  It is critical for independent experts to have full access to all pertinent human, animal, and environmental data, research, and personnel involved in the early stages of the outbreak relevant to determining how this pandemic emerged. With all data in hand, the international community may independently assess COVID-19 origins, learn valuable lessons from this pandemic, and prevent future devastating consequences from outbreaks of disease.

We underscore the need for a robust, comprehensive, and expert-led mechanism for expeditiously investigating outbreaks of unknown origin that is conducted with full and open collaboration among all stakeholders and in accordance with the principles of transparency, respect for privacy, and scientific and research integrity. We will work collaboratively and with the WHO to strengthen capacity, improve global health security, and inspire public confidence and trust in the world’s ability to detect, prepare for, and respond to future outbreaks.

Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study

Image by Philippe Delavie from Pixabay

70% of Czechs do not believe that the #coronavirus pandemic will end in 2021

7 out of 10 Czechs do not believe that the pandemic will come to an end in 2021. More than half of the Czech population does not even believe that the pandemic situation will have improved by the end of this year, and opinions are divided regarding vaccinations.

The IPSOS research, which took place between October and March, was conducted in 31 countries around the world, including China, Russia, Germany, Poland, and the USA, with the participation of more than 15,500 respondents globally, and approximately 1,000 in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic was among the less optimistic countries included in the research. 33% of Czech respondents expect a return to pre-crisis life conditions by the end of 2021, compared to the global average of 41%. Germany and China are the most optimistic countries by this measure, with 43% and 90% respectively.

BRNOdaily.com report

 

 Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Number of #coronavirus reinfections in Czech Republic up ninefold to 1,400

One year after the first confirmed case of coronavirus infection, experts in the Czech Republic recorded 1,400 cases of reinfection, in which people in both cases had symptoms of Covid-19. In the last month, the number of reinfections increased ninefold, a month ago the SZÚ registered 158. According to the SZÚ, the increase is related to the large number of those infected in the autumn wave.

Denik.cz report

 

 

Image by Lubos Houska from Pixabay