First detected in mid-November in South Africa, the omicron variant of the coronavirus caused a sudden explosion of cases in Europe – which was soon reflected in different parts of the world.
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In Brazil, the variant has been dominant since at least the first week of January, representing between 90% and 100% of positive cases confirmed by RT-PCR tests, according to the frequency map of the Sars-CoV-Surveillance Program. 2 of the Corona-Ômica BR-MCTI Network, which monitors the growth of the main variants of the virus in the country.
However, according to recent statements by the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe has now entered a new phase, which could lead to the end of the pandemic in the region.
“It is plausible that the region is nearing the end of the pandemic,” Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, said on Sunday (23/1).
Will normality return to the streets of Europe? — Photo: Getty Images via BBC
This could happen as soon as the wave of infections caused by this variant passes, which, according to the agency, will cause more than half of the population of the European continent to contract the disease in the coming weeks.
“Once the wave of the omicron subsides, there will be general immunity for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, either because of the vaccine or because people will become immune due to the infection, plus a decrease due to seasonality,” Kluge told the AFP news agency. .
The WHO hopes this will provide a period of calm until “covid-19 is likely to return later in the year, but not necessarily [com] the return of the pandemic”.
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Care must be taken
Kluge highlighted, however, that it is still too early to classify covid-19 as an endemic disease, something that has been discussed in the recent period.
“There is a lot of talk about endemic, but endemic means that it is possible to predict what will happen. This virus has surprised us more than once, so we have to be very careful”, said the WHO spokesman.
He cautioned that as the omicron variant has been widely transmitted, it is possible that other variants will appear.
For this reason, Kluge recommended the population to be responsible, stay at home if you have any symptoms and isolate yourself in case of a positive test for covid.
Given the speed at which the variant is being streamed across Europe, Kluge explained that the emphasis is now on “minimizing disruption [do serviço] in hospitals, schools and the economy, and put an enormous effort into protecting the vulnerable”, rather than imposing measures to stop the contagion.