NORMAL life could return in just two months as the Omicron variant is helping end the Covid pandemic, Denmark's top health boss has said.
Tyra Grove Krause, the chief epidemiologist at Denmark's State Serum Institute, said she expects the surge in new cases of the variant to peak later this month.
Speaking to broadcaster TV2, Ms Krause said a new study from the organisation found the risk of hospitalisation from the new variant is half that seen with the Delta variant.
She said the new data has given authorities hope that the pandemic in Denmark could be over in just two months – and normal life can soon return.
The health chief said: "I think we will have that in the next two months, and then I hope the infection will start to subside and we get our normal lives back."
It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
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But Ms Krause stressed there was still work to be done to beat the pandemic in the coming months.
Denmark's current seven-day average case rate is 20,886, according to the latest data. In total, 823,026 cases and 3,292 deaths have been recorded.
Ms Krause said: "Omicron will peak at the end of January, and in February we will see declining infection pressure and a decreasing pressure on the health care system.
"But we have to make an effort in January, because it will be hard to get through."
She added: "Omicron is here to stay, and we will see massive spread of infection in the coming months.
"When it's over, we will be in a better place than we were before.
"In the long run, we are in a place where coronavirus is here, but where we have restrained it, and only the particularly vulnerable need to be vaccinated up to the next winter season."
Ms Krause's hopeful comments came three days after an optimistic message from WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu.
Although he warned Covid could spawn into another variant and prolong the pandemic – he said there is still hope the virus can be beaten in 2022.
In a 2022 New Year message, Dr Tedros said wealthy countries need to share their vaccines to stop the virus mutating again.
He warned vaccine inequality had "created the ideal conditions for the emergence of the Omicron variant".
But he said: "If we end inequity, we end the pandemic."
He added: "Through the ACT-Accelerator, which includes COVAX, WHO and our partners are helping to make vaccines, tests and treatments accessible to people who need them, all over the world.
"As we enter the third year of this pandemic, I’m confident that this will be the year we end it – but only if we do it together."
Many country leaders have been hesitant to reimpose strict lockdowns like those seen in 2020.
And in Britain, UKHSA and the Cambridge University MRC Biostatistics unit found vaccines do work to prevent serious illness from Omicron.
One dose of any vaccine was associated with a 35 per cent reduced risk of hospitalisation among symptomatic cases with the Omicron variant.
Two doses offered a 67 per cent reduction up to 24 weeks after the second dose, and there was a 51 per cent reduced risk 25 or more weeks after the second dose.
Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation was estimated as 52 per cent after one dose, 72 per cent two to 24 weeks after dose two, 52 per cent 25-plus weeks after dose 2 and 88 per cent two weeks after a booster dose.
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