EU Experts Estimate Possible Rate Of Omicron Strain Spread
A new strain of the coronavirus, Omicron, could cause half of all infections in the European Union within months, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said in a report.
The omicron strain could conceivably spread much more rapidly than delta, the ECDC has said, citing preliminary data from South Africa. However, the centre notes that there is still insufficient evidence to prove this.
The presence of multiple mutations in this strain suggests that there is a high likelihood of reduced antibody efficacy following disease or vaccination and the possibility of reinfection, the ECDC says. However, the extent to which Omicron is able to bypass or destroy established immunity against COVID-19 is not fully understood at this time.
The agency notes that the precautions that were previously used to deal with the pandemic are still relevant in the situation of the new strain spreading. These include keeping a distance, ventilating rooms, washing hands, using masks and keeping to isolation if there are signs of illness. The ECDC believes that increased contact tracing of those infected will help to slow down the spread of omicron.