WHO: Global COVID cases rose 11% last week, high omicron risk

BERLIN (AP), -- According to the World Health Organization, the number of COVID-19-related cases worldwide rose by 11% last week. The largest increase was in the Americas. This increase was gradual and occurred since October.

WHO: Global COVID cases rose 11% last week, high omicron risk

In its weekly epidemiological update, released Tuesday night, the U.N. Health Agency stated that nearly 4.99 Million cases had been reported in the world between Dec. 20 and 26.

Europe was responsible for more than half of the total with 2.84million, but that was only a 3% rise over the week before. The highest rate of infection in the region was also found there, with 304.6 cases per 100,000 people.

WHO reported that the number of new cases in Americas rose 39% to almost 1.48 million. The region also had the second highest infection rate, with 144.4 cases per 100,000 people. This 34% increase in cases was seen in the United States alone, with more than 1.18million cases.

Reports of new cases in Africa rose by 7% to almost 275,000

According to the agency, "the overall risk associated with the new variant... omicron remains high." They also cited "consistent proof" that the variant has a growth advantage over its delta counterpart, which is still dominant in some parts of the world.

It stated that South Africa has seen a decrease in the incidence of cases and that data from Denmark, the U.K, and South Africa suggest that there is a lower risk of being hospitalized with omicron. It said that further data was needed to "understand the clinical markers for severity, including the use or mechanical ventilation, death, and how vaccinations and/or previous... infections may impact severity."

WHO reported that there were fewer deaths than usual last week, at 44,680.

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