WHO warns new COVID-19 wave could loom as delta variant spread through Europe

WHO warns new COVID-19 wave could loom as delta variant spread through Europe
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Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional director for Europe, on Thursday warned that a new wave of coronavirus cases could be imminent unless more people get vaccinated.

As The Associated Press reports, Kluge based his warning off of a 10 percent surge in cases observed this past week, likely caused by “increased mixing, travel, gatherings, and easing of social restrictions.” According to Kluge, around 63 percent of people in Europe have not received a vaccine yet.

“The three conditions for a new wave of excess hospitalizations and deaths before the autumn are therefore in place: New variants, deficit in vaccine uptake, increased social mixing,” Kluge said, warning that the more infectious delta variant is set to be the dominant strain in Europe by August.

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“There will be a new wave in the WHO European region unless we remain disciplined, and even more so when there is much less rules in place to follow, and unless we all take the vaccine without hesitating when it is our turn,” Kluge added.

Kluge advised any people intent on traveling during the summer to continue practicing “life-saving reflexes," the AP reports.

On Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFDA panel endorses COVID-19 booster shots for older Americans, rejects widespread use Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows MORE stated that fully vaccinated people are safe from the delta variant.

"If you are vaccinated, you are safe from the variants that are circulating here in the United States," which includes the delta variant, Walensky said.

"We know that the WHO has to make guidelines and provide information to the world," Walensky said when responding to the more cautious advice that the organization has given in comparison to her. 

"Right now, we know as we look across the globe that less than 15 percent of people around the world have been vaccinated and many people of those have really only received one dose of a two-dose vaccine. There are places around the world that are surging," she added.