More than half of Europe might be infected with Omicron in the next few weeks – WHO

NEWS DIGEST − More than half of Europe’s population will be infected with the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, in the next two months, according to a forecast by the World Health Organization.

The forecast was shared through the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The WHO’s Europe Regional Director, Hans Kluge made this pronouncement while speaking at a virtual news conference on Tuesday.

Hans noted that the data collected in recent weeks shows that Omicron is highly transmissible because the mutations has enabled it to adhere to human cells more easily and it could affect even those who have been previously infected or vaccinated.

“The region saw over 7 million newly reported cases of COVID-19 in the first week of 2022. More than doubling over in two week period.

“As of 10th January 26 counties report that over one percent of their population is catching COVID-19 each week, mortality rates remain stable and continue to be highest in countries with high COVID-19 incidents combined with lower Vaccination uptake,” the Regional Director stated.

According to John Hopkins University COVID-19 Update, the report shows the upsurge in United Kingdom with 1,211,484 new cases within Jan 2 – 8,2022. The UK government has administered 136,573,432 doses including 47,718,730 people fully vaccinated and percentage of those fully vaccinated stand at 71.40 per cent.

Kluge maintained that 50 of 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia have then reported cases of omicron. It is quickly becoming dominant virus in Western Europe and it is now spreading to the Balkans.

However, He assured the world that the currently approved Vaccine do continue to provide good protection against severe disease and deaths even at this moment of circulating Omicron variant but because of the unexpected scale of transmission increase the rate of hospitalizations.

The virus is also tormenting the global health systems including service delivery in many countries where Omicron variant has ravaged at high transmission and therefore overwhelmed the health workers.