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US faces COVID surge as morbidity stabilizes across globe

New confirmed coronavirus cases around world dip slightly this week, though some countries, among them America and Israel, see rising infections

An EMS medic from the Houston Fire Department prepares to transport a COVID-19 patient to a hospital, on August 24, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images/AFP)
An EMS medic from the Houston Fire Department prepares to transport a COVID-19 patient to a hospital, on August 24, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images/AFP)

North America suffered a new surge in coronavirus infections this week and United States deaths increased by a fifth, while the pandemic stabilized in the rest of the world.

Here is the global state of play based on an AFP database.

Stabilization

The number of new daily cases around the world decreased slightly by three percent this week to 639,315, according to an AFP tally on Thursday.

The pandemic appears to be stabilizing after gaining ground since mid-year, fanned by the highly contagious Delta variant which has become predominant in most countries.

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

North America up, Africa down

The pandemic continues to worsen in the US/Canada region, where the number of cases increased by eight percent. Oceania saw a 23% increase in infections.

But cases fell 26% in Africa and 17% in Latin America. There were also slight decreases in Europe of 3%, and in Asia and the Middle East of 2% each.

Thai health workers wearing personal protective equipment take swab samples for coronavirus testing of workers outside a market in Bangkok, on September 4, 2021. (Jack Taylor/AFP)

Biggest spike

Gaza was the territory where the epidemic picked up most speed, with 75% more cases on a daily basis. Norway followed with 69% more, Romania 64%, Syria and Ukraine (60% more each).

Biggest drops

At the other end of the spectrum, Indonesia and Bangladesh saw the biggest drop with 42% fewer new daily cases each. Ireland was down 36% and Cuba 30%.

US bears the brunt

The US continued to record the most new infections by far, with 166,367 a day, an increase of 7%.

India followed with 42,772, an increase of 27% and the United Kingdom 33,456, a decrease of 1%.

On a per capita basis, the country that recorded the most new cases this week was Israel with 731 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Kosovo (642) and Georgia (620).

United States most deaths

The US also recorded the most daily deaths with 1,144, an increase of 21%, ahead of Russia (796, stable).

At a global level, the number of daily deaths dropped just under the 10,000 mark this week, a 4% decrease.

Vaccinations

Sri Lanka led the vaccination race this week among countries with more than one million inhabitants, jabbing 1.87% of its population every day.

Even though they are vaccinating more slowly, the United Arab Emirates has the most advanced vaccination drive, having administered 184 first or second doses per 100 inhabitants. Uruguay has jabbed 163, followed by Israel (161), Qatar (155), and Singapore (149).

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