The virus is having a resurgence in Europe and cases are rising. This means the daily death rate on the continent will likely increase in the coming months too, said a top official from the UN health body.
Europe can expect an increase in its daily coronavirus death rate throughout October and November as cases rise across the continent, the head of the World Health Organization's (WHO) European branch said on Monday.
"We expect an increase of COVID-19 cases, which sadly means more cases of death," the WHO Regional Office for Europe confirmed to DW, citing head Hans Kluge.
The number of cases in Europe has risen sharply in recent weeks, especially in Spain and France. On Friday, more than 51,000 new cases were reported in the 55 countries of the WHO Europe — more than the highest peak in April, the UN organization said.
So far, the number of daily deaths across the continent has remained at around the same level since early June, with around 400 to 500 deaths per day linked to COVID-19, WHO data showed.
"It's a moment where countries don't want to hear this bad news, and I understand," Kluge told the AFP news agency on Monday.
While Kluge told AFP he wanted to send the "positive message" that the pandemic "is going to finish at one moment or another," he stressed that this would not be through a vaccine.
"We don't even know if the vaccine is going to help all population groups. We are getting some signs now that it will help for one group and not for another," he said.
"The end of the pandemic is the moment that we as a community are going to learn how to live with this pandemic," added Kluge.
Kluge's comments come as WHO Europe kicked off an online meeting on Monday and Tuesday. The 53 WHO Europe regional member states are discussing their response to the new coronavirus and are set to agree on their overall five-year strategy.
Earlier, EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni told DW after speaking with the EU's 27 member states that the bloc was "not at the moment at serious risk of a serious second wave with lockdowns."
"For now, I think we have uncertainty, but we can't say we are entering into a second wave."
Combating the pandemic relies very much on safety measures, respecting hygiene rules and on creating a coordinated approach, said Gentiloni.