Posted by on January 11, 2022 10:07 am
Categories: News Washington Examiner

More than half of Europe will get omicron variant within two months if current rate continues: WHO official

People wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 lining up to get a nasal swap at a mobile COVID-19 testing site at the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe.(AP Photo/Michel Euler) Michel Euler/AP

More than half of Europe will get omicron variant within two months if current rate continues: WHO official

Christopher Hutton January 11, 09:46 AMJanuary 11, 09:46 AM

Europe is at risk of being buried beneath a continentwide “tidal wave” of omicron infections, according to the World Health Organization.

This wave could hinder several of Europe’s health systems, as an estimated 7 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the first week of 2022. At the current growth rate, 1% of the population will catch COVID-19 each week in 26 countries, WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge estimated.

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“At this rate, more than 50% of the population in the region will be infected with omicron in the next six to eight weeks,” Kluge said during a Tuesday press conference.

The omicron variant has been reported in 50 of Europe’s 53 states and has become the dominant variant in Western Europe, Kluge said. The variant will be the deadliest in regions where vaccination rates are lower, including Central and Eastern Europe.


Kluge was “deeply concerned” that “we have yet to see its full impact in countries where levels of vaccination uptake are lower and where we will see more severe disease in the unvaccinated.”

While vaccinations will provide “good protection” against severe symptoms and death, Kluge said that rising hospital admissions were “challenging health systems and service delivery in many countries … and threaten to overwhelm them in many more.”

The WHO official warned that countries not hit by the omicron surge had a “closing window of opportunity to act now” and implored them to take actions, such as mandating high-quality masks and vaccinations in an effort to slow transmission, to make sure that healthcare workers and other essential services could keep operating.


Eastern Europe is not the only region dealing with large surges of COVID-19 infections. The United Kingdom estimated that 1 in 20 U.K. residents caught COVID-19 in the final week of 2021, and the United States reported over 1 million daily cases of COVID-19 on Jan. 4.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have also reached a record high, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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