According to the latest data from the World Health Organization's (WHO's) weekly situation report, global COVID-19 cases rose 12% in the past week, with all regions except the Americas and Africa reporting increases. Cases have risen globally since the beginning of the month.
The five biggest contributors of new cases were Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, India, and the United States—countries in which the highly transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant is swiping through unvaccinated populations.
Countries experiencing large jumps in daily case counts include Botswana (172%), Vietnam (146%), the United States (68%), Indonesia (44%), Malaysia (44%), and the United Kingdom (41%).
"Globally, COVID-19 case weekly incidence increased with an average of around 490,000 cases reported each day over the past week as compared to 400,000 cases daily in the previous week," the WHO said.
The Delta variant was detected in 13 more countries this past week, raising the total number to 124. The Alpha variant (B117) has been detected and is circulating in 180 countries.
The WHO said the rise in cases has to do with both variants of concern, relaxing social restrictions, and inequitable vaccine access.
PAHO head on 'pandemic of the unvaccinated'
In a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis on vaccine disparities, only 1% of people in low-income countries have received a first vaccine dose, versus 51% of people in higher-income countries. In total, about 3.7 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally.
"More and more, disease trends are showing a region divided by vaccine access. In countries with adequate vaccine supply, infections are decreasing; in places where vaccine coverage is still low, in those countries, infections remain high," said Carissa Etienne, MBBS, director of the WHO's Pan American Health Organization, during a press briefing.
"We face a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and the only way to stop it is to expand vaccination. Vaccines are critical, even if no vaccine is 100% effective."
Etienne said that in countries in which more than one third of the population is vaccinated, including Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina, case counts are steadily dropping. But vaccination progress in many nations in Central America and the Caribbean remains slow.
Other COVID-19 developments
- The Olympic Games haven't officially started yet, but 79 COVID cases have already been linked to the event. In an address to the International Olympic Committee, WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, voiced support for the Games and used the opportunity to point out vaccine inequities.
- In Australia, both New South Wales and Victoria states are seeing spikes in cases, dimming hopes for a quick end to their lockdowns, Reuters reported.
- The global total today reached 191,763,648 COVID-19 cases and 4,122,507 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online tracker.