Omicron severity question answered for 3-4 weeks, said an official of the WHO

Omicron severity question answered for 3-4 weeks, said an official of the WHO ...

BRUSSELS, December 22nd, 2014 - Omicron will become the dominant coronavirus variant by the beginning of 2022 and three to four weeks will be needed to determine the severity of the COVID-19 virus, said the European head on Wednesday.

Hans Kluge warned countries to avoid a dreary case.

He told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that Omicron, which already dominates England, Denmark and Portugal, will probably be the foremost coronavirus strain in Europe "in a couple of weeks".

"There's no doubt Europe is again the epicenter of the global pandemic," said Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, adding that infections were up 40% from last year, and Omicron was taking over.

I'm very concerned, but there is no reason to panic," he said. "But we know what we can do."

People need to employ a special-ever vaccine approach, with vaccinations and booster shots complemented with mask-wearing, while noting that it would be difficult to have contacts over Christmas and New Year.

Countries should be ready to implement more stricter measures, but lockdowns should be only a last resort given the cost of social and economic matters.

Kluge said it wasn't clear how long immunity lasted after a third dose. Israel is set to become the first country to offer more vulnerable people the option.

The first time Israel has started is for "And now we must remember that Israel was the first to do so." For now, a fourth dose in Israel is like a third, he said.


Some studies suggest that Omicron causes less severe disease than the Delta variant that dominates most countries. However, scientists still are trying to determine this point.

Kluge said it'd likely last three to four weeks before the question was answered.

While coronavirus cannot be eliminated, it could be stabilised, allowing hospitals to manage more heart disease and cancer.

The virus can be controlled through vaccines, boosters, double the number of people wearing masks indoors, and a ventilation system, and a new COV/19 drug is necessary.

Kluge said the good news from history was that every pandemic had ended.

That virus has surprised us more than once, so I would say I don't know when it is going to end, but I think that we can do it that day when our lives will normalise, especially if - we don't know - Omicron was less severe, he said.

"The key question is how do we survive the winter, how do we leave no one behind."

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