European health leaders raise concern over potential COVID-19 surge this winter

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European health leaders raise concern over potential COVID-19 surge this winter

A photo taken on March 30, 2021 shows the exterior view of the World Health Organization WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. CHEN JUNXIA XINHUA COPENHAGEN MOSCOW European health leaders expressed concern over the potential surge in respiratory virus infections across the region this winter and called for better protection of the population, especially the most vulnerable.

According to a joint statement issued by European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, World Health Organization WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge and Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ECDC Andrea Ammon, the 2022 -- 2023 influenza season has gotten off to an early start as concerns over the spread of respiratory syncytial virus RSV increase and COVID 19 remains a threat, according to a joint statement issued by European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyri

The World Health Organization Europe region is experiencing an increase in the circulation of influenza and RSV. These viruses are expected to have a high impact on health services and populations this winter, the statement said.

It highlighted the current influenza viruses A and B which are rising in circulation in different parts of the region, among all age groups. Those over 55 years and older are particularly vulnerable. They have accounted for almost half of all reported influenza hospital admissions since October.

Another cause of concern is the increase in RSV, a common respiratory virus that causes bronchitis or pneumonia and can be fatal, particularly in infants and the elderly. Since October, RSV cases have been on the rise, with some 20 countries and areas experiencing increased RSV activity. While case rates, hospital and intensive care unit admissions, and death rates are low compared to the previous 12 months, there are concerns that this situation could change as new variants emerge and the disease continues to strain healthcare resources. It is difficult to predict how the new winter period will develop due to the continued impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic and the circulation and health impact of other respiratory pathogens, according to the statement.

The leaders recommend that clinicians look at early antiviral treatments and prophylaxis for influenza, RSV and COVID- 19 for those at risk of severe disease in order to prevent severe outcomes and reduce the burden on healthcare systems.

We can't say enough: vaccination saves lives. The document said it reduces the chance of being infected and reduces the risk of severe illness from COVID 19 and seasonal influenza.

Russia has registered 6,785 new COVID 19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 21,597, 613, said the official monitoring and response center on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Authorities call for continued COVID 19 measures in Europe

The death toll rose by 58 to 392,060 in the U.S., while the number of recoveries increased by 5,865 to 21,003, 575.