ECDC: From 2022 the Omicron mutation will prevail – Delta remains

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The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) expects the prevalence of the Omicron coronavirus mutation in Europe during the first two months of 2022, according to the update of the risk assessment that was published on Wednesday.

The Delta variant remains the most common at the moment, however mathematical models show an increase in cases from the Omicron variant.

Even if the severity of the disease caused by Omicron is found to be equal to or less than the severity of Delta, increased transmission and subsequent exponential increase in cases will quickly offset any benefits of reducing severity.

At the moment, it is noted, the data are not enough to assess the risk of Omicron, but it is considered certain that it may lead to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths compared to Delta.

Although the initial cases identified were related to travel outside the EU, more and more cases are being recorded through contacts within the EU, which are detected in representative sampling taken in the context of monitoring the epidemiological situation.

Therefore, the ECDC assesses the possibility of further spread of this variant in the European Union and the European Economic Area as very high, and assesses the risk to public health from its spread as very high.

In a statement, ECDC Director Andrea Amon noted that the effectiveness of vaccines against severe disease remains high, and that vaccination remains one of the key factors that can reduce the effects of Omicron.

However, he notes, with today’s data, “vaccination alone will not allow us to prevent the effects of the Omicron variant as there is no time to close the vaccination gaps that still exist.”

He stressed that there is an urgent need to take strong action to reduce transmission and reduce the burden on health systems.

Referring to the possible measures that the national authorities have before them as options, Ms. Amon stressed that “the rapid recovery and strengthening of non-pharmaceutical measures is necessary to reduce the transmission of the Delta, to slow down the spread of the Omicron concern variant and to maintain the weight of COVID-19 is manageable “.

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