(Bloomberg) -- Deaths in Europe from Covid-19 will reach 2.2 million by March based on current trends, the World Health Organization warned, advising countries to vaccinate more to avoid further lockdowns.
Covid is now the leading cause of death in Europe, and the number of reported daily fatalities approached 4,200 last week, double the level at the end of September, the WHO said Tuesday. The cumulative total is 1.5 million in the WHO’s European region.
The WHO said it expects intensive-care units in 49 out of 53 countries in the region will have high or extreme stress between now and the start of March.
The outbreak has accelerated in Europe in recent weeks as colder temperatures lead to more socializing indoors, while many countries have eased restrictions. The WHO has repeatedly said that the pandemic is not yet over, and that governments should keep public-health measures such as mask-wearing along with vaccinations.
“As we approach the end of 2021, let’s do everything we can by getting vaccinated and taking personal protective measures, to avoid the last resort of lockdowns and school closures,” Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO for the European region, said in the statement.
About 54% of people in Europe have completed their full vaccination doses, though that varies from 10% to 80% in individual countries, the WHO said.
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