Half of Europe’s population has been warned of the risk of contracting omicron in the coming months

(ORDO NEWS) — In the first week of January, more than seven million new infections with the omicron strain were reported across Europe – a number that doubled in just two weeks.

The head of the European branch of the World Health Organization, Hans Kluge, citing a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (USA), said that more than 50 percent of the European population could become infected with the omicron strain of coronavirus in the next two months.

Provided that the increase in incidence will maintain the current pace: in the first week of January in the EU recorded as many as seven million cases of “omicron”.

More than one percent of their population falls ill with Covid-19 every week, according to authorities in 26 European countries. And now the region has little to no escape from the burden on health systems.

“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that over 50 percent of the population in Europe will be infected with omicron within the next six to eight weeks. <…> Omicron is spreading faster and more aggressively than any [previous] variant that we have seen, ”Kluge said at today’s press conference.

The unprecedented scale of transmission of the omicron strain from one person to another, he noted, has led to an increase in the number of hospitalizations due to coronavirus infection, but the death rate is stable.

Kluge called on states to reintroduce mandatory indoor masking and prioritize vaccinations, including re-vaccination of at-risk groups (the elderly and health workers). In Denmark, the hospitalization rate due to coronavirus was six times higher among people who did not get vaccinated, he said. Recall that in the summer, the WHO headquarters in Geneva demanded that developed countries postpone revaccination and donate doses of Covid-19 vaccines to poor regions.

“We need to continue to develop vaccines for Covid-19, which have a great impact on preventing new infections and the spread of the virus, in addition to preventing the development of severe disease and death.

Until such vaccines become available and the virus mutates, existing Covid-19 drugs will need to be updated to provide a level of protection against infections with options of concern, including omicron, ”said the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Technical Advisory Group.

Meanwhile, Spain has recommended finally treating Covid-19 as an endemic disease – like the flu. This is the first European country to explicitly state that people will have to live with SARS-CoV-2. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez admitted that Europe should reconsider its approach to fighting infection and monitoring cases of infection.

The head of the British Ministry of Health, Nadhim Zahavi, in turn, also said a couple of days ago that the UK “is on the path of transition from a pandemic to an endemic.”

France and Germany continue to tighten restrictions, especially for the unvaccinated. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, said that he is striving to make the life of the unvaccinated as difficult as possible.

The Netherlands has introduced one of the strictest quarantines in Europe, closing restaurants and bars, and Italy has announced a € 100 fine for residents over 50 for refusing to vaccinate.

While vaccines remain a reliable way to avoid hospitalization with the omicron strain or death, scientists say, but they – especially two standard doses – will not protect against infection as much as everyone hoped.

In Russia, however, the omicron strain is not detected so actively. Infection cases have been confirmed in 13 subjects of the Federation: Moscow, Moscow region, St. Petersburg, Perm region, Rostov, Murmansk, Leningrad, Oryol, Orenburg, Ryazan and Nizhny Novgorod regions, as well as Bashkortostan and Ingushetia. In total – 305 cases.

“Our database contains material from 305 people, the number of sequences is slightly higher: all the sequences identified are included there, even if a citizen is tested and sequenced again. These are 305 people, 49 cases are from two outbreaks that we have already registered in two student hostels in Russian regions.

And already on the example of Russia, we were convinced of the extremely rapid spread of the virus and its high contagiousness , ”said the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova today at a meeting of the coordinating council for combating coronavirus infection.

According to her, the incubation period has decreased, as a result, a person is able to infect others on the second day, and the symptoms of Covid-19 appear on the third or fifth day. However, she allowedthat in Russia the incidence of poor development will reach 100 thousand cases daily.

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