Pandemic winter is upon us. Lockdowns, an increase in cases, and a vaccination gap characterize the beginning of the season, which is wreaking havoc on Eastern European countries and causing concern for Westerners alike.

Even though vaccines are more widely available this year than they were last year, the WHO said on Wednesday that Europe is the only area reporting an increase in new Covid-19 infections globally.

There Is Chaos In The East, While Doubt Afflicts The West

According to the data, the number of cases in the region has risen for the third week in a row.

In Eastern Europe and Russia, vaccine reluctance has led to a rise in deaths and cases, and coverage rates have dropped as low as 24%, according to figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

There Is Chaos In The East, While Doubt Afflicts The West

On Thursday, Latvia became the first EU member to implement a lockdown due to an upsurge in cases due to low vaccine uptake. In the EU, the average vaccination rate is 74.6 percent, although only 56 percent of people have gotten both doses.

Despite virtually universal vaccine coverage, Western Europe is a key driver to the rise of Covid-19 infections. For the first time since May, Germany’s Covid incidence rate hit 100 new infections per 100,000 people on Saturday. In Western Europe, Belgium and Ireland had the highest case rates, with 325.76 and 432.84 cases per 100,000 people, respectively, according to the ECDC.

On Wednesday, Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgium’s health minister, told Belgian television VRT that the country was now dealing with a fourth flu wave. More than 85% of the adult population has had all of its vaccines, and according to Reuters, officials maintain that the vast majority of Covid-19 patients hospitalized to hospitals were not vaccinated.

In spite of the fact that vaccination rates in Europe’s East and West differ, a global health expert at Oxford University’s Said Business School in England, Dr. Peter Drobac, said that high case rates caused by the relaxation of pandemic restrictions as economies open and people stay indoors because of cold weather have one thing in common: According to Drobac, the highly contagious Delta strain has taken over as the region’s main strain.

Although caseloads are high in certain Western European countries, immunization has kept Covid-19 death and hospitalization rates comparable to those in Eastern Europe.

Romania will reintroduce curfews and demand health cards for most venues on Monday, only days after posting a Covid-19 mortality rate per capita of 19.25 deaths per million people, one of the world’s highest. A scarcity of immunizations doesn’t cause Romania’s difficulties.

However, like in many other countries, such as those in the Baltics and Balkans, vaccination hesitancy, inadequate messaging from the government, and a general mistrust of the authorities have slowed Romania’s vaccine rollout. Only 35.6% of adults in the country have got all of their recommended vaccines, according to the ECDC.

It was the highest single-day total since the epidemic started for Covid-19 infections in neighboring Ukraine on Thursday with 22,415 cases. Last week, President VolodymyrZelensky called for vaccinations, saying they were the only way to avert a state of emergency.