COVID cases and deaths continue to decline globally, WHO says – NBC Chicago

The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths worldwide has continued to decline over the past week, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, with only the Western Pacific reporting an increase in COVID-19.

In its latest pandemic report released on Wednesday, the UN health agency said new COVID-19 infections fell 5% in the past week, continuing a downward trend that began more one month. Deaths have also fallen by 8% and have fallen globally over the past two weeks.

Only the Western Pacific has seen an increase in coronavirus cases, reporting a 46% increase. Last week, Hong Kong recorded around 150 deaths a day, giving it the world’s highest death rate per 1 million people, according to data from the University of Oxford.

The highly infectious omicron variant has recently overwhelmed the semi-autonomous Chinese city, prompting mass quarantines, panic buying at supermarkets and even the city’s morgues are overflowing, forcing authorities to store bodies in storage containers. refrigerated shipping.

Elsewhere, COVID-19 is waning dramatically; the largest declines were seen in the Middle East and Africa, where cases fell 46% and 40%, respectively.

“The gentleness of the omicron wave, its low death toll and the fact that it is rapidly disappearing, has given the widespread impression that COVID-19 is over,” said Salim Abdool Karim of the University of KwaZulu- Natal in South Africa. He said it’s still unclear when the pandemic might end, but said the low death toll in the omicron surge was striking.

Many scientists have attributed this to booster vaccination programs undertaken in many wealthy countries, which have broken the link between COVID-19 infection and serious disease.

Earlier this week, an expert panel convened by the WHO said it “strongly supports urgent and wide access” to booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine amid the global spread of omicron, capping a reversal of the UN agency’s repeated insistence last year that boosters weren’t necessary for healthy people.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has pleaded with wealthy countries not to offer boosters and send doses to Africa instead, saying there is no scientific rationale to warrant boosters for healthy people.

Many scientific studies have since proven that booster doses of licensed vaccines help restore waning immunity and protect against severe COVID-19, especially against the backdrop of the global spread of omicron.

You know the feeling. It may seem like the pandemic is winding down, only for the restrictions to return. Here’s what drives Dr. John Torres. “I’m just trying to remember that we’re going to get to the end of this, this pandemic will end. We just have to…make sure we all stick together,” he said.

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