The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that more than half of people in Europe are on track to contract the Omicron coronavirus variant in the next two months, if infections continue at current rates.
Speaking at a news conference, regional director Hans Kluge warned that the Omicron version represents a “new west-to-east tidal wave sweeping” in the European region.
“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates that more than 50 percent of the region’s population will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks,” Kluge told reporters.
The WHO’s European region includes 53 countries and territories, including several countries in Central Asia, and Kluge noted that 50 of them had confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.
According to the WHO, 26 of those countries reported that as of January 10, more than one percent of their population was “catching COVID-19 every week”, and the region reported more than seven million new virus cases in the first week Were. 2022 alone.
Referring to data collected over the past few weeks, Kluge said the variant was confirmed to be more permeable and that “the mutations enabled it to adhere to human cells more easily, and that it was able to adhere to those cells”. can also infect those who have previously been infected or vaccinated.”
However, Kluge also emphasized that “approved vaccines continue to provide good protection against serious disease and death, including those from Ommicron.”
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