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COVID-19

Global COVID-19 cases exceed 236 million, death toll hits 4.83 million

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(Last Updated On: October 11, 2021)

The cumulative total number of global COVID-19 cases has exceeded 236.5 million with the death toll hitting 4.83 million as of Friday, according to the latest data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Specifically, there had been 236,599,025 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,831,486 deaths as of Wednesday, the WHO’s COVID-19 dashboard showed Monday.

In addition, a total of 6.3 billion vaccine doses had been administered across the world as of Saturday, according to the WHO.

The cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 44.3 million as of Sunday, with the death toll surpassing 713,000, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

The country’s case count rose to 44,338,297 on Sunday, and its death toll came to 713,154, the CSSE tally showed.

As of early Monday morning, a total of 400,352,880 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across the United States, CSSE data showed.

Reuters reported that in Britain, another 34,574 people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing its total coronavirus cases to 8,154,306, according to official figures released Sunday.

The country also recorded another 38 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 137,735. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

There are currently 6,763 patients in hospital in the UK with COVID-19.

Russia meanwhile confirmed 28,647 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally to 7,775,365, the official monitoring and response center said Sunday.

The nationwide death toll grew by 962, close to a record number of 968 a day earlier, to 216,415. Recoveries increased by 17,274 to 6,858,119.

In Asia, India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 33,971,607 on Monday, as 18,132 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry’s latest data.

The number of new cases recorded in a day are the lowest in the past 215 days, said a statement by the federal health ministry.

Besides, as many as 193 deaths from the pandemic since Sunday morning took the total death toll to 450,782.

COVID-19

COVID is less severe with Omicron than Delta, U.S. study suggests

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2022)

The Omicron variant appears to result in less severe COVID-19 than seen during previous periods of high coronavirus transmission including the Delta wave, with shorter hospital stays, less need for intensive care and fewer deaths, according to a new U.S. study, Reuters reported.

However, the fast-spreading Omicron variant has led to record numbers of infections and hospitalizations, straining the U.S. healthcare system.

Despite the steep spike in COVID cases, the percentage of hospitalized patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) during the current Omicron wave was about 29% lower than during last winter’s surge and some 26% lower than during the Delta wave, the study published on Tuesday in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found.

According to the report the lower COVID-19 disease severity during the Omicron period is likely related to higher vaccination coverage, booster use among those eligible for the extra shots, as well as prior infections providing some immune protection, the study said.

Deaths in the period from Dec. 19 to Jan. 15, when Omicron infections were at a peak, averaged 9 per 1,000 COVID cases, compared to 16 per 1,000 in the previous winter peak and 13 during the Delta wave, the study showed, Reuters reported.

The findings were consistent with previous data analyses from South Africa, England and Scotland, where infections from Omicron peaked earlier than in the United States, the CDC said.

Relatively high hospitalizations among children during the Omicron period may be related to lower vaccination rates compared with adults, the agency said. Children under age 5 are not yet eligible for vaccines in the United States and the rate of vaccination among older children lags that of adults.

The study involved analysis of data from a large healthcare database and three surveillance systems to assess U.S. COVID-19 characteristics from Dec. 1, 2020 to Jan. 15, 2022.

The authors said one limitation of the study was that it was unable to exclude incidental infections in which patients admitted for other reasons test positive for COVID while in the hospital. That may inflate hospitalization-to-case ratios and affect severity indicators, read the report.

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COVID-19

S.Korea’s daily COVID count tops 8,000 for first time as Omicron spreads

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2022)

South Korea’s daily count of new coronavirus cases topped 8,000 for the first time on Tuesday, as the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads rapidly despite the recent extension of strict social-distancing rules to slow infection.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 8,571 cases for Monday, exceeding the previous peak posted in mid-December of 7,848, Reuters reported.

The new record came amid the spread of the more transmissible but less deadly Omicron variant, which became dominant in the country last week, and despite less testing over the weekend.

Daily tallies had almost halved to around 4,000 this month but began rebounding last week because of Omicron infections, logging their second-highest level on Saturday.

The surge fuelled worries about a potentially bigger wave ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays when tens of millions of Koreans usually travel across the country for family visits.

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COVID-19

WHO chief says world at ‘critical juncture’ in COVID pandemic

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2022)

The head of the World Health Organization on Monday urged countries to work together to bring the acute phase of the pandemic to an end, saying that they now have all the tools available to do so, Reuters reported.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference alongside Germany’s development minister Svenja Schulze.

“We must work together to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end. We cannot let it continue to drag on, lurching between panic and neglect.”

Tedros said on Monday that Germany had become the agency’s largest donor, without giving details. Historically, the United States has made the biggest financial contribution among member states to the organization, read the report.

Schulze said that the top priority of Germany, which took over the G7 Presidency, is to end the pandemic worldwide and called for a “massively accelerated, truly global vaccination campaign” in order to do so.

The event in Geneva kicks off a week of WHO Executive Board meetings where key aspects of the U.N. health agency’s future are due to be discussed, including Tedros’ bid for a second term and a proposal to make the agency more financially independent.

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