WHO says half of Europe might be infected with Omicron within two months

A passenger administers a self-collected Covid test at Los Angeles airport amid the continuing spread of the new Omicron variant around the world. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning that the Omicron variant might infect half of Europe over the next two months.

WHO’s European director Hans Kluge described the trend as a “west-to-east” tidal wave based on the seven million new cases recorded throughout Europe in the first week of 2022.

WHO’s European director Hans Kluge

This wave is expected to spread over the 53 European nations covered by WHO. According to Kluge, “how each country now reacts must be determined by its epidemiological condition, available resources, vaccine uptake, and socioeconomic backdrop.”

This comes only days after the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, stated that it is time to consider treating COVID-19 as endemic, which means treating it similarly to how we treat the flu. WHO disagreed, stating that the spread of Omicron has not yet been determined and that additional time is needed to watch and investigate.

Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez
Malta’s Health Minister, Chris Fearne

Malta’s Health Minister, Chris Fearne, stated that Omicron accounts for more than one-third of all active COVID-19 cases in the country. Despite the fact that it is said to cause less serious disease, it is still very infectious and may infect those who have been completely vaccinated.

Pfizer also said on Monday that it will be able to introduce a version of its vaccine that provides specific protection against Omicron, which may be available in March.