Wednesday

1st Dec 2021

Romania's Covid 'fourth wave' surpasses first outbreak

  • The weekly trend now puts Romania ahead of all other EU member states and sixth worldwide (Photo: General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations Romania)
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Romania's fourth-wave of Covid-19 risks making it the new 'Lombardy of Europe', in terms of both deaths and new infections.

The country's National Committee for the Coordination of Activities on Covid Vaccination (CNCAV) sent out a warning over social media about the Covid death rate and the new record of daily Covid cases.

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According to data compiled by Worldometer, at European level, Romania is second only to Russia - a country with a population more than seven times greater - in terms of Covid deaths over the past seven days.

The weekly trend now puts Romania ahead of all other EU member states and sixth worldwide, as confirmed by Romania's CNCAV.

The data corresponds to a 24-hour period - 28 September - when Romania registered another first: the highest number of daily new Covid cases since the pandemic began over 18 months ago.

With a total record of over 11,000 daily Covid cases, Romania significantly outpaces both the European and world average.

"Romania has 2.65 times more deaths than the European average and 6.34 times more deaths than the world average. Casualties in Romania today (28 September) represent five-percent of worldwide Covid deaths, and 11.5 percent of those registered in Europe over the 24-hour period.", reported CNCAV.

Healthcare specialists have been warning for several weeks that the next Covid wave will hit the country hardest. Epidemiology expert Alexandru Rafila said that Romania has one of the highest contagion-rates in Europe.

"We will exceed significantly the number of cases registered in wave three and this will have some dramatic consequences. The fourth wave of the pandemic will last at least until mid-November and may have a greater impact than previous ones.", the healthcare specialist said.

Valeriu Gheorghiță, head of the CNCAV, stated that by approximate the second-half of October, the number of Covid-19 cases in Romania could surpass 20,000 per day.

Compounding and contributing to the problem, Romania has one of the lowest vaccination-rates in the EU. According to data provided by the CNCAV, 52-percent of all Europeans are fully vaccinated. Fully-vaccinated Romanians, by comparison, amount to only 28 percent.

Institutional failure

According to data provided by researchers at the Babes-Bolyai University, Romania was the first in the EU to lift restrictions and relax other measures, but next-to-last in terms of vaccination rates.

Plummeting vaccine interest in Romania comes from a long-standing mistrust in authorities, vaccine-scepticism, plus officials' poor approach in dealing with the virus. A survey carried at the end of last year showed that the majority of Romania have little-to-no trust in authorities.

Recently, upping the feelings of uncertainty, an ex-minister of health claimed that the number of Covid cases had been watered-down - to allow for a weekend political gathering organised by the ruling National Liberal party.

The healthcare system is overwhelmed, with almost no ICU beds left, and long waiting times for Covid-testing and results. Romania's medical care has been consistently ranked EU's worst and most under-financed.

Complicating things further, Romania's ongoing political crisis has no end in sight and seems more convoluted by the day.

"We need to overcome the political gridlock. We need authorities to be able to fight the coronavirus, as well as rising gas and electricity prices", Iulius Marian Firczak MP told EUobserver

There are currently not one, but two, motions of no-confidence up for debate awaiting a parliamentary vote, a minority government clinging on for life, and a myriad of both medical and economic crises needing immediate response.

Author bio

Cristian Gherasim is a freelance journalist contributing to EUobserver, Euronews, EU Reporter, Katoikos, Von Mises Institute, and bne IntelliNews, with a particular focus on European and regional affairs.

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