Europe faces 6 tough pandemic months says World Health: Hans Kluge, who director for Europe, has explained that despite the increase in deaths from COVID-19 (more than 29.000 last week), the number of new cases is decreasing thanks to restrictions that slow the spread of the pandemic.

Most European countries have reimposed strict restrictions when a second wave accelerated in October.

So far, Europe has recorded 15, 738, 179 confirmed infections and 354, 154 deaths attributed to the coronavirus, according to WHO data. Most are concentrated in the UK (leading in deaths with more than 53,000), Russia, France (leading in cases with more than 2.1 million), Spain, Italy and Germany, reports BBC.

According to Kluge at a press conference, the continent accounts for 28% of the world's cases and 26% of deaths –"one person dies every 17 seconds"–. The doctor has expressed concern about the situation in Switzerland and France, where intensive care units are at 95% of their capacity.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it will be 6 difficult months," he has summarized, referring to the development of vaccines.

Europe faces 6 tough pandemic months says World Health

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pointed out Thursday during the EU summit that the bloc could approve 2 vaccines by the end of the year. To date, 4 vaccines have reported good results in their clinical trials: Oxford, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna.

Von der Leyen remarked that the European Medicines Agency could give" conditional marketing authorization "for vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech"as early as the second half of December if everything proceeds now without any problems".

EU leaders have presented a budget of 1,8 million euros for the EU until 2027, which includes a Coronavirus Recovery Fund of 750.000 million euros. But Hungary and Poland have blocked the approval of the budget by a clause linking funding with adherence to the rule of law in the bloc.

Some experts have urged caution until the full data is published.

Europe faces 6 tough pandemic months says World Health

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The CEO of Moderna says vaccines are not a "silver bullet": masks and social distancing are still the best defenses against the virus right now

The CEO of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, says that wearing a mask and social distancing are the "best weapon" to control the spread of the coronavirus at the moment.

Bancel, whose company is developing a COVID-19 vaccine, has spoken at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum about the importance of following public health guidelines. He stressed that while vaccines are important, surveillance and doing things like wearing a mask and social distancing are still the best way to control the spread of the virus.

"It's not a silver bullet, "Bancel assured about a vaccine, adding:" You see people going to crowded places without a mask or eating inside restaurants without a mask. I don't understand it. It doesn't make sense to me. You're gonna get infected. The only question is when."

Moderna has recently announced that its vaccine has demonstrated 94.5% effectiveness in preventing coronavirus transmission in Phase 3 trials with 30,000 participants. Although the results of the study have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, The News was encouraging for the prospect of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Food and Drug Administration has said it could take weeks to approve a vaccine for emergency use. And even after FDA approval, challenges in transporting and storing a vaccine could mean that most Americans won't have access to it until mid-2021. Bancel has noted in a recent interview with Business Insider that he expected people to have access to a vaccine by the summer.

Since the United States is breaking records for coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, public health experts have emphasized the importance of wearing a mask and limiting social interaction outside the home. Since it's not clear how contagious immunized people can be, experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have said that wearing masks and staying physically distanced will be important even after receiving a vaccine.

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has also said at the Bloomberg forum that because a vaccine has not yet been approved, people must continue to wear masks and stay away from groups to control the spread of the virus.

"Wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands and ventilation-all these public health measures remain the main effective measures to control the epidemic," he stressed. Wu added that while a vaccine is "a good technical weapon to control the epidemic," it won't be able to help control it until at least spring.

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