Omicron ‘Tidal Wave’ Expected to Infect Half of Europe

The banner reads 'Sick children in danger'. Doctors, nurses, nursing auxiliaries and ordinary people protested against the lack of means for public hospitals as the number of beds are still cut. The Macron's government has cut 5.700 beds in public hospitals only in 2021. The health workers of the Children hospital of Toulouse (part of the University hospital Purpan) are on strike as some nurses quit the service and some other think about suicide due to bad work conditions. They also protest as every part of
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Doctors, nurses, nursing auxiliaries and ordinary people protested yesterday as the Covid-19 pandemic and personnel shortages have pushed French public hospitals to their breaking point. Toulouse, France, 1/12/2022. Image: Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty

A  “west-to-east tidal wave” of Omicron is sweeping across Europe, threatening the Balkans and beyond, the WHO’s Hans Kluge said yesterday, the BBC reports

  • A University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecast shows more than 50% of Europe’s population will be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks.
  • Poland—nearly 40% unvaccinated—now has the world’s sixth-highest COVID-19 mortality rate.
  • Central Asian countries are feeling the pressure, too: Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan confirmed the variant’s presence amid sharp jumps in new cases today, Reuters reports.

  
The sheer number of infections are putting a strain on health systems, with Omicron patients taking up “conventional” beds in hospitals in France while Delta strains ICUs.
 
It’s not just Europe: At a US Senate hearing yesterday Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, said “most people are going to get covid,” The Washington Post reports—but emphasized the need to keep hospitals and transportation services afloat before any major reassessment of the nation’s strategy.
 
Anthony S. Fauci also warned Americans not to assume that Omicron infections will provide natural immunity against inevitable future variants that emerge.

And, CIDRAP shared findings from 2 clinical trials in South Africa—both preprint, ahead of peer review—linking Omicron to a much higher rate of asymptomatic spread than earlier variants, shedding light on its rapid spread.


Related: 
 
Omicron Is Forcing Us to Rethink Mild COVID – The Atlantic
 
5 reasons you should not deliberately catch Omicron to 'get it over with' – CNN
 
Moderna vaccines the best — and Sinovac least effective — at stopping covid deaths, Singapore data suggests – The Washington Post

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