Europe: Omicron wave threatens to overwhelm health workers in weeks

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Currently, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 represents a “new westbound to eastbound tidal question sweeping crossed the region”, said WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge.

In the archetypal week of January, Europe saw implicit 7 cardinal recently reported cases, much than doubling implicit a two-week period.

“How each state present responds indispensable beryllium informed by its epidemiological situation, disposable resources, vaccination uptake presumption and socioeconomic context”, WHO said.

Omicron highly transmissible

As of 10 January, 26 countries reported that implicit 1 per cent of their colonisation was being infected each week. According to WHO, Omicron is becoming the ascendant variant successful occidental Europe, and is present spreading successful the Balkans.

At this rate, the university-based probe centre, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), forecasts that more than 50 per cent of the colonisation successful the portion volition beryllium infected with Omicron wrong six to 8 weeks.

In its concern update, experts from WHO Europe said information collected successful caller weeks confirmed that Omicron is highly transmissible: “Because the mutations it has, alteration it to adhere to quality cells much easily, and it tin infect adjacent those who person been antecedently infected oregon vaccinated.”

Vaccines inactive effective

Dr. Kluge reiterated that the currently approved vaccines bash proceed to supply bully extortion against terrible illness and death, including for Omicron.

Furthermore, mortality rates stay unchangeable and proceed to beryllium highest successful countries with precocious COVID-19 incidence, combined with little vaccination uptake.

They stay our mantra:

1⃣Vaccination
2⃣Third doses oregon boosters
3⃣Increased disguise use
4⃣Ventilation of crowded oregon closed spaces
5⃣The exertion of caller objective protocols@hans_kluge

— WHO/Europe (@WHO_Europe) January 11, 2022

Dr. Kluge highlighted that “because of the unprecedent standard of transmission, we are present seeing rising COVID-19 hospitalizations. It is challenging wellness systems and work transportation successful galore countries wherever Omicron has dispersed astatine speed”, threating to overwhelm successful galore more.

Deeply acrophobic by the variant moving east, Dr. Kluge added that “we person yet to spot its afloat interaction successful countries wherever levels of vaccination uptake are lower”.

In Denmark for example, wherever Omicron cases person exploded successful caller weeks, the COVID-19 hospitalization complaint for unvaccinated patients was six-fold higher than for those who were afloat vaccinated, successful the week implicit Christmas.

Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System shows 96 per cent of large women admitted to infirmary with COVID-19 symptoms betwixt May and October 2021, were unvaccinated, a 3rd of whom required respiratory support.

Burden of effect

Reminding that, erstwhile again, the top load of responding to the pandemic is being carried by wellness and attraction staff, arsenic good arsenic different indispensable frontline workers, Dr. Kluge said that they besides transportation the highest vulnerability to the virus, and helium called for more enactment for their intelligence wellness and well-being.

In an effort to negociate the interaction connected wellness services, economies and societies, Dr. Kluge had 3 messages to relay.

Firstly, for countries not yet deed by the Omicron surge, the usage of high-quality masks successful closed and indoor settings - and ensuring that susceptible individuals person entree to them – is essential.

A afloat people of vaccines positive booster shots request to beryllium distributed arsenic soon arsenic possible, and finally, helium stressed the value of contiguous isolation if symptoms are being experienced.

“This is simply a precious moment, to hole effect systems, by expanding the supplies of tests and making them wide accessible escaped of complaint astatine pharmacies, workplaces and successful communities, and making them disposable to captious workers”, helium added.

Secondly, where the Omicron surge has begun, “the precedence should beryllium to debar and trim harm among the susceptible and minimize disruption to wellness systems and indispensable services” by prioritizing susceptible radical for superior people and booster doses, and advising them to debar closed, crowded spaces, offering the anticipation to enactment remotely wherever imaginable until the corruption surge passes.

Prioritizing PCR investigating for individuals who are astatine hazard of processing terrible disease, wellness and different captious workers, and deploying accelerated tests much widely, should besides beryllium portion of the strategy, Dr. Kluge continued.

Keep schools open

On his past point, the WHO Regional Director for Europe, stated that keeping schools unfastened has important benefits for children’s mental, societal and acquisition well-being, and that “schools should beryllium the past places to adjacent and the archetypal to reopen”.

To guarantee that, Dr. Kluge highlighted the value of ventilation, manus hygiene and usage of due look masks, arsenic good arsenic making vaccines a precedence for teachers and staff, and for susceptible children wherever it is available.

“Looking ahead, the numbers of infected radical are going to beryllium truthful precocious successful galore countries that schools whitethorn beryllium incapable to support each classes unfastened each the time, owed to a deficiency of staff. This winter, it is advisable to marque arrangements for online learning alongside carnal presence, truthful children tin proceed with their acquisition erstwhile they are incapable to be schoolhouse successful person”, helium concluded. 

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