Covid pandemic begins to ebb
The Covid-19 pandemic started to ease around the world this week after a three-and-a-half-month rampage of ever-increasing infections, AFP data published yesterday showed.
The average number of global daily cases dropped by a tenth this week to 3.03 million, after increasing for 15 weeks in a row, according to an AFP tally to Thursday.
Almost every region of the world saw an improvement over the past seven days.
In the United States/Canada zone the number of new daily cases dropped by 38 percent, while Africa saw a 21 percent fall and Asia a 16 percent drop. Cases in the Latin America/Caribbean zone decreased by 13 percent and in the Middle East by four percent.
The situation was almost stable in Europe, with a one percent rise. Once a catch-up in Australian figures is factored out, the number of infections in Oceania decreased by around a tenth.
Iran saw the biggest spike in the number of new cases this week with a 233 percent rise.
The Solomon Islands in the Pacific followed with 138 percent more cases, Armenia with 137 percent, neighbouring Azerbaijan was 133 percent up, while cases doubled in South Korea.
The Dominican Republic saw the biggest drop of the week with 65 percent fewer cases, followed by Nepal with 55 percent less, Argentina (down 51 percent), Jamaica (minus 50 percent) and Morocco (minus 49 percent).
The US remained by far the country with the highest number of new cases with 362,800 per day on average, which nevertheless was a drop of 39 percent on the previous week.
Next in line came France with 289,200 cases, down a fifth, and India where they fell by a third to 204,500.
The number of Covid-linked deaths increased globally for the fourth week in a row to 10,507 per day, a rise of 16 percent.
Even though the highly contagious Omicron variant led to four times more daily infections than previous waves, daily deaths remain far lower than their record high in January 2021 when they skirted 15,000.
The US recorded the most deaths this week with 2,576 per day, ahead of India (1,040) and Brazil (702).
The countries reporting the highest death rates in proportion to their population were all in the Balkans -- Bosnia (11 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), Croatia (8.9), Northern Macedonia (8.7), and Montenegro and Bulgaria (8.0 each)