“You should hope for the best but prepare for the worst, that is, to return COVID, which may span cities, regions and countries”, – said the Director for Europe who regional office for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge, in a briefing for Russian journalists.
After a few weeks reduce the rate of new cases are reported in some countries, the average daily number of detected infected in the European region has stabilized at around 17-20 thousand people a day. In the past month, the number of countries where the level of infection with the novel coronavirus has increased, increased from 6 to 21. “This information should serve as an alarming signal for the entire region. In some countries the incidence continues to increase, for example, in Macedonia, Armenia, Uzbekistan,” – said Dr. Kluge.
Today the number of confirmed cases COVID-19 in the European region exceeds 8 million; the region accounts for 31% of cases worldwide and 43% of deaths. In General, the new coronavirus has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people in the world.
“On the one hand, it is extremely important that we continue to build a normal life after quarantine, but on the other, it is necessary for countries to adopt testing and monitoring contacts of infected persons, otherwise the infection will go up. There are already disturbing signal: in several countries, the opening of schools after the quarantine has led to local outbreaks. And that means the removal of restrictions should be approached with caution. The risk in all countries is still high,” says Kluge.
According to the expert, today the pandemic is jeopardizing the implementation of most of the sustainable development goals by 2030. Of particular concern is the situation with the “lockdown” in the provision of care to patients with chronic non-communicable diseases (childhood NCDs), which had previously been in the focus of the health systems of all countries, and today overboard. 68% (!) European countries reported that the provision of health services of chronic noninfectious diseases is interrupted. For example, a 66% reduction in the provision of medical care to people with hypertension; 58% of patients with diabetes and its complications. In the Netherlands 25% reduced rates of cancer diagnosis. However, early cancer screening curtailed almost everywhere.
In Spain, the provision of medical care to patients with myocardial infarction decreased by 40%. “We have seen a 60 percent reduction in the rates of diagnosis of tuberculosis, leading to late start of treatment and increased mortality. Some countries have suspended the immunization of the population. We need to urgently resume the safe provision of vital services, creating the conditions for health professionals and for patients,” urged the governments of Dr Kluge.
What to expect next? It is encouraging that every day the humanity learns more about the virus and becomes a step closer to creating a safe method of treatment and vaccines. “Yesterday, we learned that small doses of a steroid drug reduces by one third the mortality rate from coronavirus infection. This news is significant progress, she gives us hope, although the use of such drugs entails certain risks,” – said the head of the European regional Bureau of who.
At the same time, 22% of the world population today has at least one chronic disease that increases the risk of serious complications. This is shown by the latest study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. And ahead of the traditional autumn season of influenza and SARS, which degrades the forecasts of development of the pandemic. “Our priority is the preparation for the autumn. This crisis is not overcome. We must use every opportunity to prepare our systems to provide medical care in emergency situations and routine medical care. The population should continue to distance yourself, frequently wash hands and wear masks,” said Hans Kluge.
Who experts also pointed to the necessity of creation of programs of psychological support of doctors in these difficult conditions: according to the organization, the level of stress and burnout among health care workers during a pandemic tripled. Ireland have called this issue a priority in Italy has launched a communications programme for health workers, some countries have earned hotlines support for people in white coats.
The representative of the Russian who office, the Melita Vujnović once again asked to answer the question whether the organization of the trust the Russian statistics. Ms. Vujnović answered vaguely: “Today several countries is similar to Russia’s mortality rate. To compare statistics of different countries at this time. A lot depends on the load on the health system; countries can count the deaths, and to inform them who, in particular, to consider what is the cause of death: COVID or associated disease. Russia expanded scale database testing and today there is a good track cases, because of this, and more real picture of the number of deaths. In Russia today tested 12% of the population.”
When waiting for the second wave? Dr Kluge emphasized that no one knows this for sure, but very much today is dependent on actions to take the country on social distancing.