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COVID-19 world weekly cases drop 5% but some Europe nations surge

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 10/2/2022 Allen Cone
Robert Koch Institute President Lothar Wieler (L) and German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach appear at a news conference Friday in Berlin on the COVID-19 situation. The Koch Institute is a federal research agency for disease control and prevention. Photo by Clemens Bilan/EPA-EFE © Clemens Bilan/EPA-EFE Robert Koch Institute President Lothar Wieler (L) and German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach appear at a news conference Friday in Berlin on the COVID-19 situation. The Koch Institute is a federal research agency for disease control and prevention. Photo by Clemens Bilan/EPA-EFE

Oct. 2 (UPI) -- COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to drop, including fatalities the lowest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, but cases are spiking in European nations, including Germany, Austria, Italy, France at least 33% each.

The seven-day moving average for deaths was down to 1,191, the fewest since 1,074 March 21, 2020, 10 days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, according to Worldometers.info. In one week deaths declined to 8,029, a 20% drop, with the cumulative 6,550,476 so far Sunday.

And cases' moving average was at 419,734, which is the least since 397,470 July 5, 2021. In one week they declined 5% to 2,938,462 with the total 623,389,078 but Europe rose 5% over seven days.

Daily deaths worldwide dropped to 829 Saturday, the fewest since 679 March 16, 2020, and 867 last Sunday.

Cases were 296,021 Saturday, the lowest number since 241,894 on Sept. 28, 2020. The last time cases were above 1 million was July 31.

Some nations do not report data on weekends. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't report data on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

The records were 3,846,212 cases on Jan. 21, during the height of the Omicron subvariant, and 16,815 deaths on Jan. 21, 2021, when the Delta subvariant was at its peak.

Few big countries reported increases in both categories in the past week, mainly in Europe.

Germany posted the most weekly cases, 434,179, which is a 60% gain, and the fourth-most deaths at 606, a 15% rise.

Japan had the second-most cases, 318,384, which dropped 24 percent. In deaths, the United States was No. 1 at 1,751, which decreased 32%, and a 1,000 more than second-place Russia at 710, a 1% drop.

In the past week, Asia reported 33% of the world's cases though it dropped 15% for a cumulative 190,046,048, according to Worldometers.info. The continent has 59% percent of the world's population.

Europe's cases rose 11%, for a cumulative world-high 227,696,689. Also increasing were Africa 6% for 12,648,796. Decreasing were Oceania 37% for 12,395,790, North America 33% for 116,479,738, South America 5% for 64,121,188.

Oceana is the sole one to gain in deaths, 7% for 20,973. Decreasing were North America 37% for 1,540,095, Africa 31% for 257,633, Europe 13% for a world-high 1,921,341, Asia 13% for 1,480,542, South America 11% for 1,329,877.

The United States leads with 1,084,891 fatalities and 98,248,623 infections. The nation also holds the world record for daily cases at 906,886 on Jan. 7. Brazil is second in deaths at 686,304, including 207 Saturday and fourth in cases at 34,720,437, including 5,288 Saturday.

India is second in cases at 44,594,487, including 3,375 Sunday and third in deaths at 528,673, including 18 Sunday, including 11 reconciled by Kersala state, with single deaths also reported in April and zero the last time on March 24, 2020.

India has the daily deaths record at 4,529 on May 18, 2021, with no adjustments from regions.

Case increases in the past week with more than 25,000 in descending order were France 34% at No. 3 312,126, Taiwan 5% at No. 4 293,330, Italy 59% at No. 5 215,534, Austria 62% at 77,717, Brazil 2% at No. 10 47,216.

Also in the top 10 for most cases but dropping: No. 5 Russia 272,779 with 25%, No. 6 United States 248,729 with 32%, No. 7 South Korea 201,678 with 14%.

Among nations reporting more than 100 deaths with increases in the past week: Brazil 9% at No. 5 467, Taiwan 8% at No. 6 307, Australia 19% at No. 10 256, Poland 35% at No. 15 142, Chile 7% at No. 16 132, Indonesia 9% at No. 17 124.

Also in the top 10 for most deaths but decreasing: No. 3 Japan with 632 at 13%, No. 7 South Korea 15% at 305, No. 8 Britain with 285 at 33%, No. 9 Italy 18% at 26.

In the top 10 for deaths, Mexico is fifth with 330,112 and no data on weekend, Peru sixth with 216,578 and three Sunday, Britain seventh with 190,317 with no data on weekends, Italy eighth with 177,150 including 20 Sunday, Indonesia ninth with 158,014 including 10 Sunday and France 10th with 155,112 with no change on the weekend.

In the top 10 for cases, France is third with 35,437,807 including 46,596 Saturday, Germany is fifth with 33,386,229, Britain seventh with 23,672,855, Italy eighth with 22,529,252 including 29,906 Sunday, Russia 10th with21,049,027 including 30,085 Sunday.

European nations are experiencing case surges, the first spike since the most recent BA.5 wave, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said in a weekly update.

In the report, cases among people 65-plus years rose by 9% in one week, driven by increases in 14 of the 26 countries reporting data. But the pooled death rate fell by 20%.

"Changes in population mixing following the summer break are likely to be the main driver of these increases, with no indication of changes in the distribution of circulating variants," the ECDC said.

The cumulative uptake of a first booster was 64.9% among adults aged 18 years and older, 84.1% among individuals aged 60 years and older and 53.9%in the total population.

Germany's rate is 77.9% for one shot among the entire population.

Germany has instituted some new mandates amid the spike.

Passengers older than 14 on long-distance trains will be obliged to wear N95-type respirators. Also, health ministers in all 16 German states have agreed that passengers on local buses and trains will be required to wear at least surgical masks.

The respirator masks are now also to be worn in hospitals, nursing homes and doctors' offices. Also before visiting a nursing home or hospital, a negative test must be presented and employees there facilities must be tested several times a week.

"We have a particularly difficult winter ahead of us due to the energy crisis, we don't want to make it worse through the Covid crisis," German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at a news conference Friday.

England's hospital admissions for patients with COVID-19 rose 48% in one week with most of the surge is driven by the disease acquired in hospital.

Britain's one-shot rate for the entire population is 69.6%, which is much lower than other nations. The best rate in Europe among large nations is Portugal at 94.6%.

"It is clear now that we are seeing an increase which could signal the start of the anticipated winter wave of COVID-19," Dr. Mary Ramsay, who directs Britain's Health Security Agency, posted on Twitter. "Cases have started to climb, and hospitalizations are increasing in the oldest age groups," Ramsay said.

In all, more than 12.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, a gain of less than 100 million in one week, with the world's population of 7.9 billion, according to Bloomberg tracking. Mainland China leads with 3.5 billion doses administered and a 92.4% one-shot vaccination rate among the 1.5 billion population, the most in the world. India is second with 2.2 billion among the 1.4 billion population and a 74.4% rate.

Some of the most recent hotspots -- Japan and South Korea -- are subsiding. On Sunday, Japan added 29,492 infections, an 15% decline from the previous week, for a total of 21,359,708 in ninth worldwide with the record 255,534 six weeks ago.

Also, Japan gained 71 deaths for a total of 45,107 in 25th globally, 29 days after a record 291.

Japan, which has an 82.8% one-shot vaccination rate among all residents, is in the midst of a seventh wave amid the BA.5 Omicron variant.

On Oct. 11, Japan plans to drop a ban on individual tourist visits and remove a 50,000 cap on daily arrivals. Those were the strongest restrictions among the Group of Seven nations.

Japan has 358 deaths per million, which is 145th in the nation, with the world at 840.4 and Peru No. 1 at 6,430. In cases, Japan's rate is 169,851 per million in 196th place with the world 79,975 and Austria the highest among large countries at 568,502 with Portugal 541,739, France 540,338 and Denmark 533,294. Japan's population is 125 million.

South Korea posted the eighth-most weekly cases 201,678, a 14% decrease, for a total of 23,569,192, but only 23,597 Sunday, in sixth place. The nation added 44 deaths for a cumulative 28,489 in 37th, including a 15% weekly loss at 305, seventh-most worldwide.

South Korea's records are 621,328 cases in March 17 and 470 deaths on March 24.

But South Korea's cases are at three-month lows with a seven-day moving average of 28,741. In late June it was around 7,000. The daily record was 621,328 on March 17.

Starting last Monday, the nation will no longer require masks for outdoor group activities. General outdoor use ended May 2. South Korea plans to keep the indoor mask mandate, because of a projected resurgence in COVID-19 infections during the fall and winter seasons.

"For nearly two years, students have been forced to cover their faces all day at school without any exemption. A lot of them have been suffering from allergies, skin inflammation, irritated eyes and even breathing difficulties," Shin Min-hyang, head of the solidarity of human rights for parents and students, a civic group against mask mandates, told The Korea Times on Friday. "Moreover, recent studies show that facemasks are slowing children's language and social development. The developmental delays will have lasting effects on the young generation."

But North Korea apparently has brought back its mask mandate. The official Korean Central News Agency released photos of elderly people wearing masks while attending the previous day's celebrations of the International Day of Older Persons.

The nation has reported no cases or deaths since July.

China, where COVID-19 emerged more than 2.5 years ago, has reported 5,226 deaths. Before a spike in April, it was 4,636, which stayed at that number since early February 2021. On Sunday, China reported 179 cases with 5,659 on April 29. Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.

Lockdowns have been removed in big metropolitan areas. But data for September indicated that while manufacturing improved slightly, the services industry contracted for the first time since May.

"The data show that the foundation for an economic recovery is still unstable," said Bruce Pang, chief economist at Jones Lang Lasalle Inc., told Bloomberg. "Of the triple whammy of shrinking domestic demand, supply disruption and weakening expectations, consumption is the most prominent."

Hong Kong, like China, has adopted a "zero tolerance" for coronavirus. But since Monday, people arriving will no longer have to go into mandatory hotel quarantine. They cannot enter common areas, restaurants or shopping malls, for the first three days after arrival. They also have to undergo PCR tests on day two, four six.

Hong Kong reported 6 deaths and 3,569 cases Sunday with the record 79,876 on March 3.

The BA.5 Omicron strain has become the most dominant in the world, accounting for 84.8% of cases in the United States, according to the CDC projections through Saturday. The strain was first tracked in late April.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified 3% of counties, districts and territories with a "high" category level, compared with 33.9% "medium" and 73.7% "low." In "high" locations, masks are urged indoors.

The seven-day moving average for cases Thursday was 45,725, the lowest since 45,348 April 22, according to the CDC. And the deaths average Thursday fell to 325, the lowest since 318 on June 22.

New weekly hospitalizations in the United States to Tuesday were 3,773, which is a 7.4% weekly drop. A total of 5,353,767 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since its inception with a population of 332 million. The U.S. total reported Sunday was 27,344, which is 3.91% capacity, and far below the record 160,113 (20.6%) on Jan. 20, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

On Thursday in its weekly report, the CDC said the U.S. adult one-shot vaccination rate was 90.5% with completed primary service at 77.6% and one booster at 51.9%. The full population rates are 79.5% for one shot, 67.9% for two, 48.7% for three, 36.6% for four with only those 50 and older allowed to get the second booster.

The CDC says 3.5% of eligible people older than 12, around 7.5 million, have received the updated booster that targets Omicron after the rollout four weeks ago.

 

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