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Global COVID-19 case counts decline 17% last week, says WHO

A woman self-tests for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site in Whittier, California, January 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A woman self-tests for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site in Whittier, California, January 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

The World Health Organization says coronavirus case counts fell 17% worldwide over the last week compared to the previous week, including a 50% drop in the United States, while deaths globally declined 7%.

The weekly epidemiological report from the UN health agency shows that the Omicron variant is increasingly dominant — making up nearly 97% of all cases tallied by the international virus-tracking platform known as GISAID. Just over 3% were of the Delta variant.

“The prevalence of the Omicron variant has increased globally and is now detected in almost all countries,” WHO says. “However, many of the countries which reported an early rise in the number of cases due to the Omicron variant have now reported a decline in the total number of new cases since the beginning of January 2022.”

All told, WHO reports more than 19 million new cases of COVID-19 and under 68,000 new deaths during the week from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. As with all such tallies, experts say such figures are believed to greatly underestimate the real toll.

Case counts fell in each of WHO’s six regions except its eastern Mediterranean zone, which reported a 36% jump, notably with increases in Afghanistan, Iran and Jordan.

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