Global Covid-19 cases exceeded 500 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters count, as the highly pathogenic BA.2 sub-component of Ômicron grows in several countries in Europe and Asia.
The increase in BA.2 has been blamed for the recent outbreak in China, as well as record infections in Europe. It has been called a “stealth variant” because it is more difficult to track than others.
South Korea leads the world in the average daily number of new cases, recording more than 182,000 new infections per day and accounting for one in four infections globally, according to a Reuters analysis.
New cases are on the rise in 20 of the more than 240 countries and territories tracked, including Taiwan, Thailand and Bhutan.
Shanghai is battling the worst outbreak of Covid-19 in China since the virus emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, with nearly 25,000 new local cases reported, although the city’s quarantine policy has been criticized for separating children from parents and putting asymptomatic cases. Among those showing symptoms.
“The epidemic prevention and control in Shanghai is at the most difficult and dangerous stage,” Wu Qianyu, an official with the Municipal Health Commission, told a news briefing.
Europe and the USA
Some European countries are now seeing a slower rise in the number of new cases, or even a decline, but the region still reports more than a million cases every two days, according to a Reuters tally.
In Germany, the seven-day average of new infections is down and is now 59% from its previous peak in late March. New cases are also declining in the UK and Italy, while they remain flat in France.
Overall, Covid-19 cases in the United States have fallen sharply after hitting record levels in January, but a resurgence of cases in parts of Asia and Europe has raised fears that another wave could hit the United States.
The US National Public Health Agency said on Monday that the Ômicron BA.2 sub variant is estimated to be responsible for nearly three out of four types of coronavirus in the country.
The BA.2 variant now accounts for about 86% of all sequenced cases globally, according to the World Health Organization. It is known to be more transmissible than the BA.1 and BA.1.1 sub variants of μM. However, the evidence to date indicates that BA.2 is not likely to cause serious disease.
Scientists continue to stress that vaccines are necessary to prevent the devastation the virus can wreak.
Nearly 64.8% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, although only 14.8% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to data from Our World in Data.
Despite the recent increase in cases in Europe and Asia, the United States still has the largest number of Covid infections since the beginning of the epidemic, at 80.41 million, followed by India with 43.04 million, and Brazil with 30, 14 million.
About 6.5 million people have lost their lives to Covid since the start of the pandemic. The United States has the highest number of deaths, followed by Russia, Brazil and India.
Data from the Russian State Statistics Service and Reuters calculations showed, today, Thursday, that Russia has overtaken Brazil to become the second largest number of deaths in the world from the Covid-19 virus.
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