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Coronavirus Update: WHO warns of possible 236,000 new COVID-19 deaths in Europe by December, and Fauci says U.S. could see another 100,000

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The World Health Organization warned Monday that Europe will likely see 236,000 new COVID-19 deaths by Dec. 1, and Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. could suffer another 100,000 in the same time frame, mostly in those people who continue to refuse vaccination.

“Last week, there was an 11% increase in the number of deaths in the region –- one reliable projection is expecting 236,000 deaths in Europe, by Dec. 1,” WHO Europe director Hans Kluge said, as AFP reported. So far, Europe has suffered about 1.3 million COVID-19 fatalities.

High transmission rates across the continent are “deeply worrying, particularly in the light of low vaccination uptake in priority populations in a number of countries,” said Kluge. Vaccination rates are lowest in countries in the Balkans, the Caucasus and in some former Soviet republics.

Fauci, meanwhile, lamented the new estimate for COVID deaths, which he said is “both entirely predictable, but entirely preventable.” Speaking on CNN’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, urged the unvaccinated to get their shots.

“We have about 80 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not yet vaccinated,” he said.

Fauci favors mandating vaccines for schoolchildren as soon as the necessary authorizations have been granted, arguing that the benefits would far outweigh the risks.

“I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,” Fauci said. “This is not something new. We have mandates in many places in schools, particularly public schools,” noting a history of vaccination requirements for polio, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis.

Read: Gen Z students overwhelmingly support strict COVID-19 policies as they return to school

Louisiana, one of the Southern states with lower-than-desired vaccination rates, saw its hospitals come under renewed pressure over the weekend, after Hurricane Ida battered the coast, as the Associated Press reported.

Ida, which has weakened to a tropical storm, hit as hospitals and intensive care units were filled with patients from the fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, sparked by the highly contagious delta variant.

Daily tallies of new cases in Louisiana went from a few hundred a day through much of the spring and early summer to thousands a day by late July. Gov. John Bel Edwards told the Associated Press on Sunday that more than 2,400 COVID-19 patients are in Louisiana hospitals, saying the state was in a “very dangerous place with our hospitals.”

The state is working to ensure hospitals have sufficient generator power and water at hospitals so they can keep up with vital patient needs such as providing oxygen or powering ventilators.

“I hate to say it this way, but we have a lot of people on ventilators today and they don’t work without electricity,” he said.

The seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. stood at 156,886 on Sunday, according to a New York Times tracker, with the average number of hospitalized patients now above 100,000 to mark the worst levels since winter. Deaths are also averaging more than 1,000 a day or the highest since March.

Florida is suffering the highest number of daily fatalities than at any time during the outbreak, and Kentucky has the most patients in hospitals so far.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker remains stubbornly static, showing some 173.5 million Americans are fully vaccinated, equal to 52.3% of the population. That means they have had two doses of the vaccines developed by Pfizer
PFE,
+0.93%

and German partner BioNTech
BNTX,
-0.56%

and Moderna
MRNA,
+0.93%
,
or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s
JNJ,
+0.63%

one-shot vaccine.

The CDC will meet Monday to discuss and vote on the framework for a booster program, which is expected to greatly benefit Pfizer and BioNTech, which so far are the only companies to gain full approval for their coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer has started to beef up its sales force to push the program, according to the Financial Times, which noted several positions on LinkedIn last week, a senior director to lead its U.S. COVID launch and a senior manager for U.S. COVID consumer marketing. 

Elsewhere, Singapore said it has vaccinated 80% of its population of 5.7 million, and is gearing up to reopen, the South China Morning Post reported.

The European Union is expected to recommend reinstating restrictions on travelers from the U.S., as the delta variant continues to spread, CNN reported. The EU would re-establish coronavirus travel restrictions such as quarantine and testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers from those countries, according to a diplomatic source cited by CNN.

See: EU poised to recommend halting nonessential travel from U.S. due to COVID spike

Australia set yet another record case number on Sunday at 1,323, Reuters reported, amid a continued debate about whether it can reopen from lockdowns.

In Berlin, municipal authorities are offering a special train service for vaccinations as they push for more people to get their shots, the Guardian reported. officials invited anyone aged 18 or older to step aboard and receive a dose of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

See also: With more than 150,000 Americans contracting COVID-19 per day, the price for going unvaccinated is growing

Paul Gigot interviews Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins. Photo: Bloomberg
Latest tallies

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 216.6 million on Monday, while the death toll rose to 4.5 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world with a total of 38.8 million cases and 637,540 deaths.

India has the second highest death toll after the U.S. at 438,210 and is third by cases at 32.7 million, the JHU data shows.

Brazil has second highest death toll at 579,308 and has 20.7 million cases.

In Europe, Russia has 179,233 deaths, followed by the U.K. with 132,760.

China, where the virus was first discovered late in 2019, has had 107,015 confirmed cases and 4,848 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively underreported.

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