World breaks daily COVID case count record, again, tally shows

Over 3 million cases recorded between January 13 and 19, a 17% increase over the previous week’s record numbers, as fast-spreading Omicron blankets whole countries

Health workers collect a swab sample from a man to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 20, 2022. (AFP)
Health workers collect a swab sample from a man to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 20, 2022. (AFP)

PARIS, France — The world registered a record-high average of more than 3 million coronavirus cases a day between January 13 and 19, fueled by the Omicron variant, an AFP tally showed Thursday.

The figure has increased more than five-fold since the highly transmissible strain was detected in South Africa and Botswana in late November 2021.

An average of 3,095,971 daily cases were reported over the past seven days, an increase of 17 percent compared with the previous week.

Before Omicron emerged, the previous record for average global daily infections was around 800,000 in late April 2021.

Current infection levels are around 440% higher than the daily average for the week ending November 24, 2021, when South Africa reported Omicron to the World Health Organization.

In Israel, case rates have gone from around 500 a day in late November to a record of 71,277 reported on Tuesday, though some of the increase could be attributed to changes in testing standards.

People, some wearing face masks, shop at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, on January 13, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The world recorded an average of 7,522 COVID-related deaths a day between January 13 and 19, an 11% rise on the previous week although Omicron has so far seemed to cause less serious illness than the previously dominant Delta variant.

In Britain, new COVID cases skyrocketed by more than 300% between late November and early January, but the number of patients requiring ventilation did not increase in that time.

The figures are based on official statistics produced by national health authorities and compiled by AFP.

Cardboard cut-out puppets made by children are placed on the stands, in the absence of public due to Covid-19 restrictions, prior to the IBU Biathlon World Cup Men’s 20 km Individual Competition in Antholz-Anterselva, Italian Alps, on January 20, 2022. (Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

A significant proportion of less severe or asymptomatic cases go undetected despite intensified testing regimes since the beginning of the pandemic.

Testing policies also vary from one country to another.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to COVID-19, the WHO estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.

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