Modeling by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) showed that systemic mask-wearing may save up to 266,000 lives across Europe by February amid the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge said on Thursday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th October, 2020) Modeling by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) showed that systemic mask-wearing may save up to 266,000 lives across Europe by February amid the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge said on Thursday.
"We can take action that makes a difference and saves lives while maintaining livelihoods. Modelling by IHME suggests that the systematic and generalized wearing of masks (at a rate of 95% from now) may save up to 266 000 lives by 1 February across our 53 Member States in the Region," Kluge said in a statement at an emergency meeting of ministers of health from the WHO European Region on COVID-19 projections for the winter season.
In addition, Kluge said that the World Health Organization considers national lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 a "last-resort option" due to their devastating effect on the economy and other issues.
"The indirect impact associated with people falling into financial hardship and turning to social security would result in further economic impact and extend economic recovery time. Given these realities, we consider national lockdowns a last-resort option because they bypass the still-existing possibility to engage everyone in basic and effective measures," Kluge said.
The WHO official added that full lockdowns will "propel mental health-care demand and spur an increase in domestic violence."
In addition, Kluge said that COVID-19 testing and contact tracing needs to be adapted "in a more targeted manner" amid the second wave of the global health crisis.
"When we can no longer ramp up testing and tracing at scale, we need to assess where to focus our resources. Adapting testing and tracing so that they are used in a targeted way for maximum impact, focusing on the events that trigger highest spread within communities, may become necessary. But we cannot give up on these critical systems," Kluge said.