Romania, Bulgaria hit pandemic death highs amid vaccines lag

Nov 2, 2021, 5:20 AM | Updated: Nov 3, 2021, 1:56 am

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania reported a record daily number of 591 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday amid a persistently low vaccination rate and a wave of coronavirus infections that has overwhelmed the country’s ailing health care system.

Only 37% of adults in Romania, a European Union member with around 19 million people, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to an EU average of 75%. Within the 27-nation EU, only Bulgaria has a smaller share of its population vaccinated.

Romanian authorities said Tuesday that 541 of the 591 people who had died of COVID-19 since the day before were unvaccinated. More than 1,800 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care Tuesday.

The unfolding disaster prompted authorities to impose tighter restrictions starting last week. Vaccination certificates are required for many day-to-day activities, such as going to the gym, the cinema or a shopping mall. For everyone, there is a 10 p.m. curfew.

Octavian Jurma, a doctor and health statistician, told The Associated Press that Romania’s high COVID-19 mortality rate is the result of strong-anti-vaccination movements, poor medical education and a national response that has failed to curb the health crisis.

“There was no (government) communication strategy whatsoever, and no education strategy. The only people communicating, and very effectively, are the anti-vaxxers and the negationist movements,” Jurma said Tuesday. “The truth is that this pandemic wave was left to peak completely unmitigated — and the whole burden was put on the hospitals.”

The number of vaccines administered in Romania — where nearly 50,000 people have died of COVID-19 — increased through October and reached a daily record of 150,000 doses. But the number fell over the last week, declining to around 75,000 doses on Monday.

Other Central and Eastern European countries with low vaccination rates are facing similar virus surges.

Bulgaria, where 25% of adults have been fully vaccinated, also reported its highest daily pandemic death toll Tuesday; of the 310 who died in 24 hours, more than 90% were unvaccinated, authorities said.

Bulgarian Health Minister Stoycho Katsarov on Tuesday called the situation “a national disaster.”

Croatia, a country of 4.2 million, reported its highest daily death toll since May on Tuesday, when officials said 40 more COVID-19 patients had died since a day earlier. Authorities are setting up more vaccination sites in the capital, Zagreb.

In countries such as Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia, where vaccination rates have reached around 50% of the population, new waves of infections have led to steps to reduce the pressure on hospitals while authorities try to stimulate vaccine uptake.

In Slovenia, an EU country of 2 million people, hospitals suspended non-urgent medical interventions Tuesday to free up space for COVID-19 patients.

Robert Carotta, the national coordinator for COVID-19 wards in Slovenia’s hospitals, told local news agency STA that the number of patients is growing at the fastest pace since the start of the pandemic. If the pace continues, the country’s health care system will be overwhelmed, he said.


Veselin Toshkov in Sofia, and Jovana Gec in Belgrade, contributed to the report


Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

1 day ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

1 day ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

3 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

6 days ago

This frame grab from video, provided by the Mexican government, shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez being det...

Associated Press

Mexico extradites son of ‘El Chapo,’ Ovidio Guzman Lopez to US

The son of notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited to the U.S. on Friday.

7 days ago

impeachments in US history...

Associated Press

A look at notable impeachments in US history, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday on during his impeachment trial. Here's a roundup of impeachments in U.S. history.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Romania, Bulgaria hit pandemic death highs amid vaccines lag