On top of a rise in the Delta variety, Dr. Hans Kluge (WHO) claimed a "west-to-east tidal wave" of Omicron was sweeping through the region.
"Today, the Omicron version signifies a new west-to-east tidal wave, sweeping through the area on top of the Delta surge, which all nations were able to manage until late 2021," Dr. Kluge said at a press conference.
"More than half of the people in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks," he said, citing the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.
The forecast was based on the seven million new cases recorded in the first week of 2022 across Europe.
In only two weeks, the number of infections has more than doubled. As governments throughout Europe fight to curb the Omicron strain, France has recorded the largest number of new daily Covid cases ever.
But the large infarction numbers may not be as bad as we may think.
Despite strong warnings from global health authorities that the epidemic is far from ending, there are rising requests in Europe for Covid-19 to be regarded as an endemic infection like the flu.
Pedro Sanchez, Spain's prime minister, is the latest European politician to raise his head above the parapet and say that Covid should be re-evaluated. He urged the EU to consider if the virus may be treated as an endemic disease.
"The situation is not the same as it was a year ago," Sanchez said in a radio interview with Spain's Cadena SER on Monday, as Spanish students returned to school following the summer break.
"I believe we need to assess Covid's progression from a pandemic to an endemic sickness, from the pandemic to now," he continued. Sanchez said it was necessary to start a discussion about a progressive revision of the epidemic "at the technical level, at the level of health experts, but also at the level of Europe."