COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — There have been greater than 7 million new instances of the omicron variant of COVID-19 throughout Europe within the first week of January, greater than doubling in simply two weeks, the World Well being Group mentioned.
WHO Europe director Dr. Hans Kluge mentioned at a media briefing on Tuesday that 26 nations in its area reported that greater than 1% of their populations are being contaminated with COVID-19 every week, warning there’s now a “closing window of alternative” for nations to stop their well being programs from being overwhelmed.
He cited estimates from the Institute of Well being Metrics on the College of Washington that projected half of the inhabitants in Western Europe will probably be contaminated with COVID-19 within the subsequent six to eight weeks.
“Omicron strikes sooner and wider than any (earlier) variant we now have seen,” he mentioned. Kluge referred to as for nations to mandate the usage of masks indoors and to prioritize vaccination, together with booster doses, of at-risk populations, together with well being employees and older individuals. WHO’s Geneva headquarters has beforehand pleaded with wealthy nations to not supply booster doses and to donate them as an alternative to poorer nations the place weak teams have but to be immunized.
Kluge mentioned he was significantly involved that as omicron strikes east throughout the European continent, the variant will take a a lot increased toll on nations with decrease vaccination protection charges. In Denmark, he famous the coronavirus hospitalization fee was six occasions increased in individuals who weren’t vaccinated in comparison with those that had been immunized.
Observe AP’s pandemic protection at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic