Home LATEST NEWS Omicron causes pre-Christmas contamination records around the world

Omicron causes pre-Christmas contamination records around the world


Before this South American country, where 69% of the 17.7 million inhabitants have already received two doses, only a handful of states had made vaccination compulsory and only for adults.

Faced with the surge of the Omicron variant, very contagious, weariness is felt, as in this 35-year-old Parisian, Dominique, crossed near the Champs-Élysées: There is moral fatigue. But what can be done about it? We are fed up. Last year, we thought we’d see the end of it, but now we say to ourselves that many other variants can happen.

A small note of hope, however, before the end of the year celebrations weighed down by the virus: initial studies from South Africa, Scotland and England show that Omicron seems to cause fewer hospitalizations than Delta .

According to the British health agency, patients with the new variant have up to 70% less risk of being hospitalized.

In the United Kingdom, hit hard by the pandemic rebound, nearly 120,000 additional cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Thursday, a new record.

The seven-day increase exceeds 50% and the number of hospitalizations begins to increase, especially in London.

So far, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have announced tougher restrictions. But in England, the government of Boris Johnson procrastinates.

Medical staff in an intensive care unit.

Omicron begins to fill hospitals in some countries.

Photo: Getty Images / Michele Lapini

Contamination record also in France with more than 90,000 new cases recorded in 24 hours, an absolute record in this country since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

For now, the authorities are betting more on vaccination than on new restrictive measures: President Emmanuel Macron has called on the French to take care of each other, in particular through tests before reuniting with their loved ones for the end of the year celebrations.

Other countries in Europe, the global epicenter of the pandemic rebound, are showing off the masks. Spain, yet one of the world champions in vaccination, has decided to make it compulsory once again to wear it outside.

And the Spanish justice has just authorized the establishment of a night curfew in a large part of Catalonia.

Italy, which has already paid a heavy price for the pandemic, has decided to make it compulsory to wear a surgical mask outside throughout its territory.

The government has announced that the mask providing superior protection, the FFP2, will become compulsory for going to the cinema, the theater, sporting events or on public transport, without specifying an application date.

Greece has also announced that wearing a mask will be mandatory indoors and outdoors during the holidays.

Omicron threatens the economy

All public Christmas and New Year’s celebrations have been canceled.

In Sweden, teleworking must be privileged and public events bringing together more than 500 people must require a vaccination pass.

In Belgium, the cultural world is on the rise after the authorities’ decision to force cinemas and theaters to close on Sunday.

In Asia, a month and a half before the opening, on February 4, 2022, of the Winter Olympics, China did not hesitate, after the discovery of a few dozen cases, to impose strict confinement on the 13 million ‘residents of Xi’an City by virtue of its draconian policy of zero COVID.

In the United States, with 171,000 daily cases on average over seven days, according to the COVID Act Now site, the wave due to Omicron, already largely dominant among new infections, is about to exceed the peak of that due to the variant. Delta. But millions of Americans have started traveling across the country for the holidays.

A screening tent is set up near a van in Times Square.

The New Year’s Eve party in Times Square, New York will be held with reduced capacity.

Photo: Getty Images / AFP / KENA BETANCUR

The current epidemic rebound could ultimately impact economic activity. The leading European airline, Lufthansa, announced the cancellation of 33,000 flights this winter, or 10% of its schedule, due to a drop in bookings.

Global stock markets, however, ended up on Thursday: Omicron looks more like a short-term disruption to the economic outlook than a destructive wind, says Edward Moya, Oanda analyst.

For the moment considered less fatal, Omicron could theoretically cause a large number of deaths. The number of cases could automatically lead to an increase in the number of hospitalized patients, in particular the unvaccinated and the so-called fragile people (very old, or immunocompromised for example) and once again overwhelm the health systems.

The pandemic has killed at least 5,376,527 people worldwide since the end of 2019, according to an AFP report from an official source on Thursday. WHO estimates that the real toll could be two to three times higher.

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