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COVID cases, deaths soar worldwide but show signs of slowing

Main upsurge recorded in Asia as Omicron infections fall in countries where the coronavirus variant first appeared

People pass COVID-19 testing site on a Manhattan street, January 21, 2022, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
People pass COVID-19 testing site on a Manhattan street, January 21, 2022, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

PARIS — The average number of daily COVID-19 cases passed a record three million globally this week, while deaths surged for a second week in a row.

Here is a state of play based on AFP’s database.

Three million cases

The number of average daily cases leapt to a record 3.1 million this week to Thursday, an increase of 11 percent compared to the previous seven days according to an AFP tally.

However, the upsurge was less marked than in previous weeks when the highly contagious Omicron variant began its rampage.

The confirmed cases only reflect a fraction of the actual number of infections, with varying counting practices and levels of testing in different countries.

A medical worker dressed in protective gear performs a PCR test on a man at drive-thru testing site in Zagreb, Croatia, on January 21, 2022. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP)

Upsurge in Asia

The week’s main upsurge took place in Asia — particularly in India — where the number of daily cases increased by 57 percent. There was also an increase of 36 percent in the Latin America-Caribbean zone and the Middle East, which was up 32 percent.

However, there was a let-up in areas where Omicron appeared first, with cases falling by a tenth in Africa and six percent in the United States and Canada.

Although infections increased by nine percent in Europe, this was still at a slower pace than previous weeks.

Oceania also saw an improvement with cases down by almost a third.

Main spikes

Nepal saw the biggest increase in new infections, with cases rocketing by 330 percent.

It was followed by Kosovo with an increase of 281 percent, Kazakhstan 271 percent, Iraq 256 percent and Japan 252 percent.

Main drops

Ireland saw the biggest drop in new cases, with a 56 percent decline, followed by Namibia with a 51% drop, then Cyprus with 35%, while the United Kingdom and Greece saw 32% fewer cases each.

US still has most cases

The United States remains by far the country with the biggest number of new cases with 751,900 per day on average, a decrease of six percent from the previous week.

Next in line came France with 337,200, an increase of 15%, and India with 271,500, an increase of 57%.

On a per capita basis, the country with the biggest number of new cases this week remained Denmark with 3,826 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. It was followed by Israel with 3,589, France 3,496, Portugal 2,796 and Slovenia 2,733.

A medical worker treat a patient suffering from COVID-19 in the ICU at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, on January 18, 2022. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP)

Deaths on the rise again

At a global level the number of COVID-linked deaths took off again, up nine percent compared to the previous week to 7,526 per day.

The US mourned the most daily deaths with 1,969 per day, followed by Russia with 698 and India with 380.

The countries reporting the highest death rates in proportion to their population were Trinidad and Tobago with 8.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Bulgaria with 8.50, Slovakia and Croatia with 7.2 each and Bosnia with seven.

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