Global COVID-19 activity shows continued variation

Airplane COVID vaccine shipment
Airplane COVID vaccine shipment

Arrival of COVAX shipment., UNICEF Ethiopia / Flickr cc

In its weekly snapshot of global pandemic activity, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that cases rose again last week, but not as steeply as the previous week, and that half of countries are reporting rises, as activity declines in the other half.

Cases up in 3 WHO regions

Last week, the WHO said cases were on the rise again, up 7%, after falling for 6 consecutive weeks. Though cases were up again, the rise compared with the week before was smaller, at 2%.

Most of the rise was driven by activity in the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean and African regions, and to a smaller extent, the European region.

Deaths continued to decline, furthering a pattern seen since early February, and dropped another 6%. The five countries reporting the most cases were the United States, Brazil, France, Italy, and India.

Regarding variant activity, 5 more countries reported B117, raising the total to 111. Three more countries detected B1351, pushing the total to 58. And for P1, 3 more countries detected cases, making 32 so far.

In Brazil, hit hard with the P1 variant, large outbreaks in Manaus and elsewhere in Amazonas state are declining, but levels remain high or are on the rise in other parts of the country, where overall cases rose 11% last week. In a related development, the health ministry yesterday reported a record high daily death total of 1,972, according to CNN.

At a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) briefing today, Director Carissa Etienne, MBBS, MSc, said officials are very concerned about the situation in Brazil, where cases are rising in nearly every state. She also said new illnesses are also rising in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile, and though cases are declining in Peru and Bolivia, levels are still very high.

Other global headlines

  • An official from UNICEF said today at a Dubai World Government virtual event that $1 billion more is needed for COVID-19 vaccine rollout to poorer countries though the COVAX program, according to Reuters.

  • Moldovia became the first European country to receive vaccine shipments through COVAX, the WHO's European regional office said today.

  • Mauritius entered a 2-week lockdown today to curb the spread of the virus, country officials announced yesterday, according to the New York Times. The latest move marks the country's second lockdown.

  • A UK public spending watchdog said today that the government's costly test-and-trace policy had little impact on controlling the spread of the virus. However, it praised the speed of setting up and staffing the effort.

  • The global total today rose to 117,717,343 cases with 2,613,747 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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