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?
Where did it all go wrong for Italy? The pandemic got off to a hideous start in Bergamo, Northern Italy, in 2020, and the country has since gone from one crisis to another in the pandemic. Italy is now in the midst of one of the worst Omicron battles in the world, despite compulsory vaccinations, vaccine passports, fines for not being vaccinated, and all the other accoutrements of a dystopian police state.
Covid case rates have risen again today to over 188,000 new cases in one day:
Covid deaths rates are also still rising as the Omicron wave continues:
The Delta variant is still at 17 percent of cases in Italy:
Two Deltacron cases have been reported in Italy, one in Padua and the other in Trento. They are NOT recombinant variants however, they are coinfections with both the Delta and Omicron variants.
The samples were found by Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of the Venezie (IZSVe) in Legnaro at the beginning of January. The two infected are a patient residing in the province of Padua and one in the province of Trento.
Il Tiempo report (in Italian)
Doctor Antonia Ricci, director of the Zooprophylactic Institute of the Venezie, said “we do not have a sequence generated by the acquisition of mutations between two different variants. What we have found is not a new strain of Sars Cov-2 that combines Delta and Omicron – the only ones currently in circulation – creating a virological bomb in the common imagination, but rather they are samples that have both variants. In short, Delta and Omicron can co-infect the same person”
Larena.it report (in Italian)
France: Covid-19: more than 90,000 cases in 24 hours in France. This is the highest number of daily cases ever since the start of the epidemic in France.
Thursday, December 23, Public Health France announced that the number of contaminations in twenty-four hours amounted to 91,608 cases in the country, a figure never before reached. Over the past seven days, the average was 61,274 cases. The previous highest number of infections was in early November 2020, at the peak of the second epidemic wave, with 86,852 cases.
Le Monde report (in French)
Italy: Daily record of infections since the beginning of the pandemic. Stable deaths and intensive care. There are 44,595 cases of Covid identified in Italy in the last 24 hours , an absolute record since almost two years ago has exploded the pandemic. Yesterday there were 36,293 cases. The previous record was recorded on November 13, 2020, when 40,902 cases were identified.
The swabs carried out are 901,450, the positivity rate is 4.9%. There are 168 deaths. There are 93 admissions to intensive care in 24 hours, bringing the total number of people admitted to intensive care to 1,023. Net of discharged patients, 13 more patients were hospitalized than yesterday. The number of hospitalized patients with symptoms is also rising, 178 more than yesterday and bringing the total of patients in the Covid wards to 8,722.
Il Giorno report (in Italian)
Spain reaches the record of contagions of covid in a day of the pandemic. The infection by coronavirus reached Tuesday the highest figure in so far pandemic to reach their 49,823 cases in the last day and an increased incidence of 86 points to 695, with occupancy in intensive units progressive increase (15.7%) and against the background of new restrictions to slow down the rapid advance of omicron.
El Periodico report (in Spanish)
UPDATE, 24th December 2021:
Australia reports 9,119 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day increase on record
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) December 24, 2021
The first photo in the world of the Omicron variant has been released. It was created at the Child Jesus Hospital in Rome, Italy.
The image shows the structure of the tip protein in the Omicron variant on the right and of the Delta variant on the left compared to the original SARS CoV-2 tip.
Omicron has many more mutations than Delta (already very varied), concentrated in an area that interacts with human cells.
The red dots indicate the areas with very high variability, the orange with high variability, the yellow ones with medium variability, the green ones with low variability and the celestial ones with low variability. The gray area is the one that does not vary. This does not automatically mean that these variations are more dangerous, simply that the virus has adapted to the human species further by generating another variant.
“Further studies will tell us whether this adaptation is neutral, less dangerous or more dangerous,” the researchers comment.
The first photo in the world of the Omicron variant was created in the research area Multimodal Medicine of the Child Jesus (coordinated by Prof. Carlo Federico Perno), under the direct supervision of Prof. Claudia Alteri (in collaboration with State University of Milan), by Valentino Costabile, Rossana Scutari and Luna Colagrossi.
Arnaldo Caruso, president of the Italian society of virology: “Today we have to face the Delta, from which we protect ourselves with the vaccine. So it is absolutely necessary to do the third dose. We hope to be able to avoid the entry of Omicron with tracking, but if we go into another season with the new variant, a booster with a fourth vaccine dose will be needed”.
Il Giorno report (in Italian)
Up to 70% of patients with moderate to severe Covid-19 report neurological symptoms 6 months later, including chronic fatigue (34%), disturbances memory/concentration (32%), sleep (31%), muscle aches (30%) ) and depression and anxiety (27%). However, these problems are often manifesting themselves even in those who have had mild Covid.
Ilfattoquotidiano.it report (in Italian)
From an earlier post on Coronaheadsup: Will the UK’s mass Covid infection experiment pay off?
“Covid-19 is a global squid game. There are only two rules to the game:
1) Don’t die of the virus
2) Don’t become infected with the virus”
Similar numbers from a different study:
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:
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
“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.
Covid has surged across large parts of Europe again as a winter wave rolls across the continent:
Giulia Lucenti died aged 16, the day after the vaccine. “Giulia dreamed to be able to work abroad in the field of robotics. “The memories of mum Oxana and dad Lorenzo dissolve in the excruciating pain of having lost their only daughter at only 16 years old,“ sixteen hours after the second vaccine dose” specifies the mother.
Majda El Azrak, 14-year-old girl, went into a coma two days after receiving the second dose of Pfizer vaccine: the young woman died after 26 days. The first dose of the vaccine Pfizer on July 22, the second on August 17. The following day, August 18, severe headache and swelling in one eye that made it necessary to be hospitalized, on August 19, at the Tricase hospital in Bari. A few hours later the clinical picture worsened up to in a state of coma, which lasted 26 days at the “Giovanni XXIII” hospital. She died like that Majda El Azrak, a young Ruffanese girl of Moroccan origins.
The Italian government has today made it obligatory for ALL workers either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection.
The new rules will come into force on Oct 15 in the latest effort by Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad coalition to persuade people to get inoculated and blunt contagion in one of the countries worst-hit by the virus.
Any worker who fails to present a valid health certificate will be suspended on no pay, but cannot be sacked, according to a draft of the decree seen by Reuters. The full details are due to be published later in the day.
Mario Draghi, Italian Prime MInister: ‘Yes to compulsory vaccination and the third dose’. ‘Orientation of the government is to extend the green pass. The government goes on. ‘ Come on no vax hateful violence. Green pass is going well ‘. ‘At the end of September we will be at 80%. I reiterate the invitation to immunize.
435 samples from 156 cases were investigated. RNA isolated from oropharyngeal swabs and urine was screened by hemi-nested PCRs targeting key sites for viral typing. Molecular evidence for SARS-CoV-2 infection was found in 13 subjects. Two patients were from the pandemic period (2/12, 16·7%, March 2020-March 2021) and 11 were from the pre-pandemic period (11/44, 25%, August 2019-February 2020).
Five of the positive individuals showed the simultaneous presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. No clear evidence of infection was found in 281 samples collected between August 2018 and July 2019 from 100 patients. The first positivity for SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in a sample collected on September 12, 2019. Mutations typical of B.1 (PANGOLIN classification) strains, previously reported to have emerged in January 2020, had already been circulating in October 2019. Hence, we estimate SARS-CoV-2 progenitor of known human infections to have emerged in late June-late August 2019.