The WHO Europe director said that the Omicron variant has moved the Covid 19 pandemic into a new phase and could bring it to an end in Europe.
Hans Kluge told AFP that the region is moving towards a pandemic endgame and that Omicron could infect 60% of Europeans by March.
After the current surge of Omicron sweeping across Europe subsides, there will be a global immunity that people have immunity due to the disease, and also lowering seasonality. We anticipate that there will be a period of quiet before Covid 19 comes back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the pandemic coming back, Kluge said.
The Omicron variant, which studies have shown is more contagious than Delta, but usually leads to less severe infection among people who have vaccinated, has raised long-awaited hopes that Covid 19 is beginning to shift from a pandemic to a more manageable endemic illness like seasonal flu.
Kluge cautioned that it was too early to consider Covid 19 endemic.
There is a lot of talk about endemic but endemic means that it is possible to predict what is going to happen. Kluge said that the virus has surprised us more than once, so we have to be very careful.
With Omicron spreading so widely, other variants could still emerge, he warned.