The Covid-19 epidemic has been responsible for 159,000 excess deaths in 24 European countries since the beginning of March, announced the European director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Hans Henri Kluge on Thursday.
Excess deaths is a term used to define the number of deaths that occurred in a given crisis above and beyond what would have been expected under “normal” conditions.
WHO lists 53 countries in its European region, including Russia and Turkey.
According to Kluge, there have been over two million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and over 175,000 confirmed deaths in the European region. Kluge said these death tolls are “above and beyond what we would normally have expected at this time of year.”
Case information reported to the WHO revealed that 94% of all Covid-19 deaths were people over the age of 60 and 59% of these deaths were men.
Of the total deaths, 97% of cases had at least one basic health condition, with the most common cardiovascular diseases.
Kluge also provided an update on the current spread of the virus in Europe, stating that in the past 14 days cumulative cases in the region have increased by 15%, with the region continuing to represent 38% of cases and 50% of deaths. globally.
Russia, the United Kingdom, Belarus, Turkey and Italy are the countries that have reported the highest cumulative number of confirmed cases in the past two weeks, Kluge said. Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and France continue to represent 72% of all Covid-19 European deaths, he added.
As countries in the region continue to ease restrictions, Kluge stressed that “there can be no economic recovery without the transmission of Covid-19 under control”.
“Our priority must be to invest in health, invest in social protection and, above all, avoid austerity,” said Kluge.
He advised leaders to examine the lessons of the 2008 financial crash, in which many countries cut spending on healthcare.
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