Global COVID cases rise a bit; Delta variant in nearly 100 nations

COVID vaccination in the Philippines
COVID vaccination in the Philippines

Asian Development Bank / Flickr cc

After falling for 8 weeks in a row, the world's weekly number of COVID cases increased slightly last week, as multiple countries battle surges, including those in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its latest situation report.

As case decline stalls, deaths continue to drop

The case rise was slight, at 2.72%. However, the number of weekly deaths continued to decline and is at its lowest point since November 2020.

In two earlier surges, Africa's cases and deaths remained relatively low compared with other parts of the world. However, the African region is now into its third wave, and both cases and deaths rose sharply last week—cases by 33% and deaths even higher, at 42%. The WHO also noted case rises in the Eastern Mediterranean and European regions.

Globally, of the five countries that reported the most cases last week, three are in the Americas: Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. The others include India and Russia.

Some of the countries that reported sharp increases last week include Namibia (up 71%), Indonesia (60%), the United Kingdom (55%), Bangladesh (48%), South Africa (47%), and Russia (24%).

At a WHO Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) briefing today, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne, MBBS, said cases are still rising in many South American countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, and Uruguay, as well as a few in the Caribbean and some in Central America, including Belize, Panama, and Guatemala.

And complicating the cases rises, only 1 in 10 people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated, which she called an unacceptable situation. Etienne added, however, that the region is slated to receive more than 20 million doses from the United States in the coming days.

Over the past week 11 more countries detected their first Delta (B1617.2) variant cases, lifting the total to 96, which the WHO said is an underestimate, since many countries have limited sequencing capacity.

"A number of these countries are attributing surges in infections and hospitalizations to this variant," it said. The WHO said that, when compared with the Alpha (B117) variant, Delta appears to be about 55% more transmissible and is expected to rapidly outcompete other variants and become dominant in the months ahead.

More global headlines

  • Bangladesh enters a week-long lockdown tomorrow, which will be enforced by the military and police, according to the Associated Press, which said the country is experiencing a rapid surge in border areas that is expanding more deeply into the country.

  • Another Australian state—South Australia—is battling a cluster of COVID-19 cases, which is linked to an outbreak in miners in the country's Northern Territory, according to Australia's ABC News.

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un lashed out at government officials for putting the country in a dangerous COVID situation, according to Reuters.

  • In South Korea, a spike in cases in Seoul has delayed the easing of distancing measures in the capital area, Reuters reported.

  • Indonesia today reported another single-day high for cases, with 21,807 new cases Also, government officials are finalizing measures to curb the country's accelerating outbreak, according to Reuters.

  • The global total today reached 181,970,477 cases, along with 3,940,936 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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