After weeks of steep declines in both new cases and deaths, the United States experienced a 7% increase in the most recent seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases compared to the preceding seven-day period, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
This uptick mirrors a global trend, according to a World Health Organization briefing held yesterday. WHO data shows the greatest increases in new Covid-19 cases occurring in the Americas and across Europe and the Middle East — regions which accounted for 80% of the world’s cases last week. Globally, there were 3.28 million new cases and more than 60,000 deaths over the past week. This case count reflects a rise for the fourth straight week. The death rate is a 3% increase from the previous week, the first such increase in four weeks. Overall, the WHO reports 125.2 million cases and more than 2.7 million deaths from Covid-19.
In the Americas, which have seen the most total cases during this pandemic, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, and Chile are currently facing the biggest challenges. Brazil has had the second-highest number of confirmed cases, after the U.S., and is facing transmission over wide swaths of the country. It is also contending with a major Covid variant, P.1, which appears to be driving regional growth. In Peru and Chile, most new cases are concentrated in their urban, capital regions of Lima and Santiago, respectively. Paraguay is facing “overwhelmed” hospitals and has only obtained 63,000 vaccines for its population of 7 million.
In Europe, the B117 variant is thought to be responsible for the current surge across the continent — with the exception of Russia. Several governments, including those of France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, have decided to either extend or reimplement business closures and curfews. The increases have also led European countries to restrict export of vaccines outside the European Union. Growth in the Eastern Mediterranean is also closely linked to the B117 variant, with the most serious situations occurring in Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, and the Palestinian Territories.
India and Bangladesh have seen the biggest number of new cases in Southeast Asia. Some smaller countries, such as Maldives, have also seen recent spikes. In the Western Pacific region, a main cause for concern is an outbreak in the Philippines, which appears to be principally concentrated in the capital, Manila.
A global bright spot, relatively, is Africa, which has largely moved past the large peak of new cases it saw in late December and early January. However, some countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, and Botswana are currently experiencing an increase in case counts. South Africa, which has led the region in confirmed cases and is home to the more contagious N501Y variant, continues to see declines.
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