Lockdowns Would Be Avoided If 95% Of People Wore Masks, WHO Says
If we all follow health measures, such as wearing face masks, lockdowns would not be needed.
In a news briefing earlier today, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top Europe official said that currently, only 60% of the population is wearing masks where required.
WHO Europe’s regional director, Hans Kluge, stressed that the use of face masks is not a ‘panacea’ and needs to be combined with other measures.
‘If we all do our share, lockdowns are avoidable’, Kluge said, as per CNN.
Hundreds of millions of people across Europe are currently under lockdown, which requires economic support, cause job losses and disruption to health services, he said in Copenhagen, Denmark.
He also noted the collateral damage to mental health and the increase in substance abuse and gender-based violence.
While there is an ongoing debate about when lockdown restrictions should be relaxed, Kluge warned of the ‘negative impact of easing too quickly’.
Many European countries are still dealing with high rates of infection and deaths daily.
On Wednesday, Italy registered 753 fatalities, its highest daily number of deaths since the first wave.
Poland has also reported a record number of deaths for the second day in a row, with 637 registered deaths today.
There were more than 29,000 coronavirus deaths in the region last week, which is the equivalent of one person dying every 17 seconds, Kluge said.
In Europe as a whole, COVID-19 deaths were up 18% in over the past two weeks, with 4,500 lives currently lost daily, he added.
Kluge said this was leading to increasingly overwhelmed health systems.
French intensive care units have been at over 05% capacity for 10 days, while Switzerland’s are at full capacity.
A small glimpse of hope, current restrictions across Europe has seen new cases drop from 2 million to 1.8 million last week.
‘It’s a small signal, but it’s a signal nevertheless,’ he said.
‘The virus thrives on the vulnerable, on doubts, on the governmental decisions being late,’ he added.
In recent weeks, a number of potential coronavirus vaccines have shown promising results.
The first breakthrough was reported by Pfizer, which said its vaccine is now 94% effective in over-65s.
‘While vaccines won’t stop Covid-19 entirely, and don’t answer all our questions, they do represent a great hope in the war against this virus,’ Kluge said.
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