Europe will soon reach a “long period of tranquillity” in the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organizations European director said Wednesday.
What’s happening: Dr. Hans Kluge, the director for the European content for WHO, said high vaccination rates and a less severe omicron variant will help Europe reach a peaceful time with COVID-19, according to BBC News.
- “This period of higher protection should be seen as a ‘ceasefire’ that could bring us enduring peace,” he said.
Why it matters: COVID-19 cases are still high in Europe. But there have been fewer hospitalizations, which has made COVID-19 a less critical threat for the continent.
- Denmark became the first European Union country to lift its COVID-19 restrictions, including the wearing of face masks, according to CNN.
- Norway announced a relaxation of its COVID-19 rules.
- Sweden said it will lift domestic COVID-19 restrictions on Feb. 9.
The bigger picture: Europe’s shift into a “ceasefire” could be a sign of what’s to come in the United States, which has often lagged one or two weeks behind European countries when it comes to the coronavirus.
- Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC that it may be time to start lifting restrictions in the U.S. as the country becomes more immune to COVID-19.
- “We have a much more contagious variant that is probably going to continue to circulate and you have a population that has much more immunity,” he told CNBC.
- “We’re going to probably have to tolerate, and probably should, a higher level of baseline spread at the point at which we consider withdrawing some of this mitigation,” he added.