More than half of Europe to be infected with omicron in next 2 months: WHO

Members of the public queue for Covid-19 vaccinations and booster shots at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, England, on December 14, 2021.

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LONDON – More than 50% of Europe’s population will be infected with the highly contagious variant of omicron Covid-19 within the next two months, according to forecasts by senior World Health Organization officials.

Citing data from the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, said a new “west-to-east wave” of omicron infections was sweeping across the region in a still-prevalent on top of the previous delta variant of .

“it [omicron] is fast becoming a major virus in Western Europe and is now spreading to the Balkans,” Kruger said on Tuesday, adding that the region had more than 7 million infections in the first week of 2022, an increase in two weeks. more than double.

“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that more than 50 percent of the region’s population will be infected with omicron within the next six to eight weeks,” he added.

Omicron swept the region at breakneck speed, some countries Reintroduce social restrictions To curb it. However, early evidence suggests that omicron is not as severe as the delta variant, despite concerns that the sheer number of infections could still overwhelm health systems.

John Bell, a professor of medicine at Oxford University and a life sciences adviser to the UK government, told the BBC in late December that omicron was “not the same disease” as the previous strain.

“The horrific scene we saw a year ago – overcrowded intensive care units and many premature deaths – is now a thing of the past in my opinion and I think we should be reassured that this is likely to continue,” he said. He said.

Discussing the omicron variant, he added: “The disease appears to be less severe, and many people have relatively short periods of time in hospital. They don’t need high-flow oxygen, and the average hospital stay is apparently three days.”

In countries with high Covid-19 rates and low vaccination rates, the death rate has remained stable and continues to be the highest, Krueger said on Tuesday.