COVID-19: Half of Europe will contract virus, WHO says

In the weeks to come, WHO experts are suggesting that half of all Europeans will have contracted the coronavirus.

Although studies have shown that the Omicron variant is less likely to induce hospitalisation, its transmissibility rate is much higher than any other strain observed before. As a result, health systems around the world, and especially in Europe—the epicentre of the virus at the moment—are bleeding.

50% of Europeans to be infected

With conventional hospital beds being used to treat COVID patients and a shortage of staff, European and Central Asian countries are now under immense pressure to avoid total collapse.

With the aid of Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's most up-to-date research, WHO doctor Hans Kluge has said that half of Europeans will have contracted the virus in six to eight weeks from now. He explained:

Today the Omicron variant represents a new west-to-east tidal wave, sweeping across the region on top of the Delta surge that all countries were managing until late 2021. More than 50 percent of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks.

And added:

How each country now responds must be informed by its epidemiological situation, available resources, vaccination uptake status and socio-economic context.

COVID in Europe today

As it stands currently, the UK has reported another 140,000 more cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, leading a number of hospitals in overwhelming conditions. In France, health ministers have warned their citizens that the coming weeks will be the hardest ones to come since the beginning of the pandemic.

Poland has become one of Omicron's hardest hit targets, largely due to a lack of vaccination, with a staggering 40% of its population yet to shield themselves from the virus. Most recent figures show that the eastern European country has surpassed the 100,000 mark of fatalities, making it the sixth country with the highest mortality rate in the world.

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