global COVID cases increased 11% last week, high omicron risk



The World Health Organization said the number of recorded COVID-19 cases worldwide increased 11% last week from the previous week, with the largest increase in the Americas. The increase then gradually increased since October.

The United Nations health agency said in its weekly epidemiological report released late Tuesday that nearly 4.99 million new cases were reported around the world between December 20 and 26. .

Europe accounted for more than half of the total, with 2.84 million, although that number was up just 3% from the previous week. It also has the highest infection rate of any region, with 304.6 new cases per 100,000 residents.

The WHO said new cases in the Americas rose 39 percent to nearly 1.48 million, and the region had the second-highest infection rate with 144.4 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The United States alone has more than 1.18 million cases, an increase of 34%.

New cases reported in Africa rose 7% to nearly 275,000.

The agency said “the overall risk associated with the new variant… omicron remains very high.” It cites “consistent evidence” that it has a growth advantage over the delta variant, which still prevails in regions of the world.

It notes that incidence has decreased in South Africa, and initial data from that country, the UK and Denmark suggest a reduced risk of omicron hospitalizations. But they say more data is needed “to understand clinical signs of severity including oxygen use, mechanical ventilation and mortality, and how severity may be affected by vaccination and/or previous infection.”

The WHO said the number of new deaths reported worldwide last week fell 4% to 44,680.

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Aila Slisco

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