COVID-19 LATEST: 50% of Europe could be infected in the next two months but for the UK the end could be in sight
Covid-19 latest: Accordingto the World Health Organization (WHO), the Omicron type of COVID-19 has put "great pressure" on health systems in several nations.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, says thatalmost half of the people in the European Region could be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO's European Regional Director, said this week at a press conference in Copenhagen that almost 7 million new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the first week of 2022 across the 53 nations of the Europe Region, a figure that more than doubled in only two weeks.
Higher rates of transmission
As of 10 January, 26 European countries reported that each week, more than 1% of their population had been infected with COVID-19.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing despite the fact that mortality and hospitalisation rates are lower than in prior waves because to the extraordinary extent of transmission. "It is posing a challenge to health systems and service delivery in several nations where Omicron has grown rapidly and threatens to overwhelm many more," said Dr. Kluge.
“Allow me to reiterate that the currently approved vaccines do continue to provide good protection against severe disease and death, including for Omicron,” Dr. Kluge said
Dr. Kluge pointed out that the COVID-19 hospitalisation rate for unvaccinated patients was 6-fold greater than for those who were completely vaccinated in the week over Christmas in Denmark, where Omicron cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks.
So what is the current situation in the UK?
On Wednesday, January 12th, 129,587 people in the UK tested positive for Covid, down from over 218,000 just over a week before.
It's unclear if the decrease in reported cases is due to the Omicron surge peaking, or because fewer people are ordering PCR testing now that the guidelines have changed, allowing asymptomatic persons who test positive on a lateral flow to begin isolation without having to obtain a PCR.
England’s seven-day infection rate is 1,723 per 100,000 people.
Boris Johnson has resisted imposing more Covid restrictions in England, which now has the most permissive guidelines of the four UK countries.
Here’s how that breaks down by region:
- North East – 2,583 per 100,000 people
- North West – 2,191
- Yorkshire and The Humber – 2,007
- West Midlands – 1,811
- East Midlands – 1,705
- London – 1,578
- East of England – 1,489
- South East – 1,397
- South West – 1,292
With 1,685 instances per 100,000 persons over a seven-day period, Scotland currently has the lowest Covid rate among the four UK nations.
The infection rate in Edinburgh is 1,489, Aberdeen is 1,393 and Glasgow is 1,768
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced that the restriction on outdoor activities will be lifted on Monday, January 17th.
This means that supporters will be allowed to attend Scottish Premiership matches as well as the commencement of the Six Nations tournament next month. Scotland's Omicron outbreak, according to Ms Sturgeon, Scotland’s Omicron outbreak may be “at or close to the peak”.
The seven-day infection rate in Wales is 1,735 per 100,000 individuals, with rates of 1,440 in Cardiff and 1,779 in Swansea.
With a rate of 975, Monmouthshire has the lowest rate in the country, while Blaenau Gwent has the highest at 1,908.
Wales has the strictest limitations of the four UK nations, with the Rule of Six in bars, restaurants, and theatres, as well as crowd limits at significant events such as sporting events.
With 2,311 infections per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, Northern Ireland had the highest infection rate of the four UK nations.
Belfast has a rate of 2,123, which is significantly higher than the national average.
The rate of 3,471 in Derry City and Strabane is the highest in the UK, while Fermanagh and Omagh is just under 2,900.
Northern Ireland's Health Minister, Robin Swann, has asked the military to assist in the fight against the pandemic.
77 deaths were reported within 28 days following a positive test, up from 42 deaths last Monday, when only England and Scotland shared Covid mortality statistics.
According to hospitalisation data, 2,332 infected individuals were admitted across the UK on Tuesday, the most recent date for which information are available, a 3.3 percent rise over the same day one week prior. In comparison, at the peak of the second wave last winter, 4,583 people were admitted in a single day.
On Friday, there were 18,665 infected patients in hospitals across the UK, down from the peak of 39,254 last winter.
62% of over-12s in the UK have now been triple-jabbed, with 83% receiving two doses and 90.4 percent receiving at least one injection.
Experts think the UK is now on the verge of conquering the pandemic, since daily Covid deaths are already running at less than half the rate expected in a bad flu year.
Now that there is such a large gap between infections and deaths, there are mounting calls for No10 to learn to live with Covid rather than focusing on blocking the virus's spread.
At the peak of the Omicron outbreak in England, just 130 individuals are dying from the coronavirus every day, compared to 1,300 in January when vaccines were widely accessible.
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