The World Health Organization (WHO) just made a shocking prediction regarding COVID-19 in Western Europe. They said that by mid-March, more than half of the countries' population would most likely be infected by Omicron.
As of press writing, more than 7 million Omicron cases have been reported across Europe during the first week of January. This number could easily double within the next two weeks.
Dr. Hans Kluge says Denmark, other countries at risk
Dr. Hans Kluge, the director for WHO Europe, said that all 26 countries in Western Europe reported that at least 1 percent of their overall population had been infected with Omicron.
Since the latest COVID-19 variant spreads more quickly compared to previous ones, the Institute of Health Metrics at the University of Washington believes that more cases will be reported within the next six to eight weeks.
To try and prevent this surge in the coming weeks, Kluge is urging all countries to use face masks indoors, get vaccinated and boosted, and avoid crowded places.
The director also said that he's more concerned with the possibility of the variant infecting more people in countries where there are lower vaccination coverage rates.
In Denmark, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate was six times higher than vaccinated people and boosted, according to the Huffington Post.
Omicron variant less severe but more contagious
According to Fortune, the Omicron variant accounted for just 8 percent of the active COVID-19 cases in the United States a month ago. However, it made up 95 percent of the diagnosed cases in America.
Earlier this week, the hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 reached a record high, with 132,646 people hospitalized.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health officials have said time and again that Omicron is less severe compared to the other variants. However, it is still something that needs to be taken seriously.
"Multiple sources of now-preliminary data indicate a decreased severity with Omicron. However, we really do need more definitive assessment of severity with longer-term follow up here and in different countries," Fauci said via CNBC.
Fauci cited a study from Canada last week that found the risk of death due to Omicron is 65 percent lower compared with those that became infected with Delta.
Another study from South Africa found out that only 5 percent of Omicron cases resulted in hospital admission compared to the 14 percent due to Delta.
The health expert also said that Omicron appears to be less severe for children compared to the Delta variant. But hospitalizations are at an all-time high among kids because Omicron is highly contagious.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says most people will be infected with Omicron
Most recently, Fauci said that since Omicron is highly contagious, there's a possibility that everyone will test positive one way or another. But those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will still fare better than those who are not inoculated.
When asked if COVID-19 has entered a new phase, Fauci said that the world may be on the threshold right now, according to CNN.