Omicron likely to be Europe's dominant variant in early 2022 – ECDC

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk in Nantes amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, December 9, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – There is a “very high” risk that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will become dominant in Europe early next year and lead to a growing number of severe infections, the European Union’s public health body said on Wednesday.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a report that Omicron variant of concern (VOC) was likely to take over from Delta as the dominant variant within the first two months of 2022.

ECDC said data was not yet sufficient to assess the severity of disease caused by the Omicron variant. However, even if the severity of COVID-19 it caused was equal to or lower than that caused by Delta, the increased transmissibility would outweigh any benefits.

“It is therefore considered very likely that the Omicron VOC will cause additional hospitalisations and fatalities, in addition to those already expected in previous forecasts that only take into account the Delta VOC,” ECDC said.

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