As Omicron spreads, it’s too soon to treat COVID-19 like the flu, but it is. Omicron variant of COVID-19 is on track to infect more than half of Europeans, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says it should not yet be thought of as the flu.

Europe saw more than seven million new cases in the first week of 2022, more than double in two weeks, WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge said at a news conference.

As things are going, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation thinks 50% of the people in that area will be infected with Omicron within 6 to 8 weeks. Kluge, who works at the University of Washington, made the statement.

More than 50 out of 53 countries in Europe and central Asia have had cases of the more dangerous variant, Kluge said.

Omicron, on the other hand, appears to be affecting the upper respiratory tract more than the lungs, causing milder symptoms than other strains.

It’s still not clear if this is true, the WHO has said.

On Monday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said it might be time to change how to treat COVID-19 because its lethality has gone down.

In this case, treat COVID-19 the virus as a “endemic” illness rather than a pandemic would mean not recording every case and not testing all people who show signs of the virus.

Catherine Smallwood, WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, said at the briefing that that’s a long way off. She said that endemicity requires a steady and predictable transmission of the virus.

“Still, there is a lot of uncertainty and a virus that is changing very quickly, which is making things more difficult for us to do. The word “endemic” doesn’t mean that we are at the point where we can call it that “Smallwood said that, and I agree.

“It might become a habit in the future, but it’s hard to say when that will happen.”