First signs of new COVID-19 wave seen in colder countries

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COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are creeping up in Northern Europe where the colder and wetter weather is first being felt across the bloc.

Latest data from Belgium, the U.K. and Denmark points to a gradual uptick in the number of cases and hospitalizations.

Belgium’s health authority said its modeling points to a new COVID-19 wave hitting in mid-October. Its data published on Friday suggests the first ripples of this wave have already arrived.

Belgium reported a 17 percent increase in the number of new cases of coronavirus in the week to September 19 from the previous week. Hospitalizations in the week to September 22 were more stable, rising 4 percent, the public health authority said.

Denmark’s infectious disease institute reported first data indicating a reversal in infection rates, which after a long period of decline are now stabilizing or rising slightly across the regions.

The institute also noted that hospitalizations rose 6 percent over the last week, compared with the week before. “People aged 70 to 89 remain the largest group among the newly admitted, as has been the case since the beginning of the year,” the institute said.

And in the U.K., the number of new cases in the week up to September 17 was 13 percent higher than the previous week, while hospitalizations were up 17 percent in the week up to September 19.

Europe has authorized boosters that target two types of the Omicron variant, including the one that is dominant now. The U.K. has so far approved one new booster that targets the first Omicron strain, and has bought enough for almost the entire population.

Photo – Two residents, wearing face mask, walk past a graffiti in the town of Ponferrada, Leon, Spain. EPA-EFE/ANA F. BARREDO

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