Europe’s Omicron Wave

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The WHO warns that Europe’s struggles with Omicron are about to get much worse.

  • Europe is currently confronting a fresh wave of coronavirus cases spurred by the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
  • But on Tuesday, the WHO warned that Europe’s Omicron challenge is still just beginning and that more than half the region’s population could contract the coronavirus in the next two months.
  • The virus is now impacting western European countries the most. It is forecast to sweep east over the next two months, hitting parts of Europe that have some of the lowest vaccination rates.
  • While Omicron is milder than previous variants and results in a lower rate of hospitalizations, the very high number of infections means hospitals are likely to be stretched very thin.
  • That will be particularly true in Eastern European countries where vaccine hesitancy remains relatively high and the population is therefore more vulnerable to serious illness.
  • Europe is also bracing for worker shortages as the number of people unable to work due to illnesses or quarantine is set to reach unprecedented levels.
The Guardian
Project Syndicate
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