What do the new data tell us about the increase in Covid-19 cases in Europe

What do the new data tell us about the increase in Covid-19 cases in Europe

Infections have increased by 10% in the last week, thanks to the relaxation of restrictions and the increase in travel. The WHO recommends attention in the management of major events such as the Europeans

(photo: TheAndrasBarta via Pixabay) The Italian national team is preparing, tonight 2 July, to play the quarter-finals against Belgium in the European Championships in Munich. A tempting opportunity to have fun for many spectators, but it is also a moment of meeting (but there is not only this, if we think of the Olympics) in which the risk of contagion, not only during the event, but also before or after that, it could inevitably grow. The World Health Organization (WHO) has just drawn attention to this, calling for more accurate monitoring even before the start of the matches and at the end, when the fans leave. Also because - the WHO points out - last week the number of cases in Europe (across the continent) increased by 10%: it is not the time to loosen up. Here is where we are with Covid-19, vaccines and vaccine rules, from the second to the third dose.

Covid-19: rises in Europe

"Last week, the number of cases increased by 10% due to an increase in travel, gatherings and the relaxation of restrictions", he said on 1 July the WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge, who highlighted the existence of the risk of a new wave "if we do not remain disciplined". In Italy, the case report indicates that we are now under one thousand new infected a day and the positivity rate is generally decreasing (yesterday at 0.4%), as is the famous Rt, which drops to 0.63. But still in our country the cases of the delta variant are increasing and the guard must be kept high, as the authorities underline. Europeans can provide opportunities for the virus to spread if not careful. Also because epidemics are not being contained all over the world: in Africa, for example, despite the hot season for six weeks, infections are on the rise (cases of a quarter every 7 days and deaths of 15% in 38 countries Africans), mainly due to the delta variant.

The role of the delta variant

The delta variant, 40% to 60% more contagious than the alpha (former English variant), has certainly a role in the growth of cases. For now, the transmission methods are the same as those of the traditional virus. In the last week of June, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) indicated that by the end of the summer this variant will cover 90% of new cases in Europe. Also in Italy the percentage of people with Covid-19 affected by the delta rises to 25%, even if the Higher Institute of Health has announced in a report relating to the period 21-27 June that it is - both for the delta and for the kappa (in acronym B.1.617.1) - of limited outbreaks. In the case of the delta variant, a single dose is not effective, while full vaccination is: the European Medicines Agency (Ema) has just remarked that two doses are protective.

And heterologous vaccination ?

Also on the front of the so-called heterologous vaccination, that is the administration of two different vaccines for each dose, there is some news. We know that those under the age of 60 who have previously received - prior to the blockade - a dose of AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria vaccine will now have the choice between still having AstraZeneca or switching to an mRna vaccine, as initially recommended by our authorities. The data of the two trials underway in Spain and France, still limited but growing, are promising and perhaps even greater effectiveness of the response and new data also support this option even more, in the face of a possible increase in mild side effects. and moderate.

As an article just published in Nature also points out, it must be remembered that the participants involved in the trials are still in the hundreds and it is not possible to estimate rare side effects that emerge only on several tens of thousands of people. Even though it is optimistic, the EMA remains cautious on the subject: Marco Cavaleri, president of the EMA vaccine task force, explained that the Agency is unable to provide a definitive recommendation on the use of different anti-vaccines. -Covid for the two doses of the cycle, but that "preliminary data from studies in Spain and Germany show a good immune response from heterologous vaccination and no safety problems". And Ema is now evaluating the opportunity of a third dose and will decide in September on this possibility and on the modalities of possible administration.

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