WHO Europe chief: Coronavirus is like a long-lasting tornado

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Photo credit FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 file photo woman walks, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, near the beach, in Saint Jean de Luz, southwestern France. The World Health Organization’s top official in Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge warned Thursday Aug. 27, 2020, that the coronavirus is a “tornado with a long tail” saying rising case counts among young people could ultimately spread the virus, and WHO issued advice to hotels as cases across Europe have increased amid the summer holiday season. (AP Photo/Bob Edme, File)

GENEVA (AP) — The coronavirus is a “tornado with a long tail” and rising infections among young people could spread to more vulnerable older people and cause an uptick in deaths, the World Health Organization’s top official in Europe warned Thursday.

Dr. Hans Kluge said younger people are likely to come into closer contact with the elderly as the weather cools in Europe and families move activities inside.

“We don’t want to do unnecessary predictions but this is definitely one of the options: that at one point there would be more hospitalizations and an uptick in mortality,” he said, speaking from Copenhagen, site of WHO's European headquarters.

He insisted “no one is invincible” but acknowledged that most coronavirus deaths are among the elderly.