Pandemic Deaths Rise By 12 Percent As Cases Soar

People hold candles during a ceremony to commemorate deaths from COVID-19 in Poland in Warsaw on 11 January, 2022. (AFP Photo)

The number of COVID-19 cases continued to soar around the world this week, with the death rate taking off again and rising 12 percent.

Here is the global state of play from an AFP database:

44-Percent Increase 

The average number of new daily coronavirus cases climbed to a record 2.78 million, a 44-percent increase compared to the previous week, according to an AFP count to Thursday.

The confirmed cases only reflect a fraction of the actual number of infections, with varying counting practices and levels of testing in different countries.

Rocketing Infections 

With the Omicron variant now present in most countries, flare-ups took place in every region of the world.

The number of cases soared by 210 percent in Asia, 142 percent in the Middle East, 126 percent in the Latin America-Caribbean region and 59 percent in Oceania.

In the United States (US) and Canada cases rose 31 percent and they were up a quarter in Europe.

Africa stood alone in seeing an improvement, with an 11-percent drop.

Main Spikes 

The Philippines saw the biggest increase of 327 percent in new cases. 

It was followed by India with 321 percent, Kosovo with 312 percent, Brazil with 290 percent and Peru with 284 percent.

Drop Across Southern Africa 

Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, registered the biggest drop in new cases for the second week in a row, with a fall of 45 percent.

Zambia came next with 30 percent fewer cases, South Africa (27 percent less), Namibia (minus 26 percent) and the United Kingdom (UK) (minus 25 percent).

The four southern African nations were among the first countries hit by the Omicron variant in early December, while the UK was the first to be badly affected in Europe.

US Still Has Most Cases 

The US remains by far the country with the biggest number of new cases with 796,500 per day on average, an increase of 34 percent.

Next in line came France with 293,900, an increase of 43 percent, and India with 172,700 cases, 321 percent more.

On a per capita basis, the country with the biggest number of new cases this week was Ireland with 3,087 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by France with 3,047, Cyprus with 2,993 and Denmark and Montenegro with 2,490 each.

Deaths On The Rise Again 

At a global level the number of COVID-linked deaths took off again, rising 12 percent to 6,911 per day after dropping for several weeks.

The US mourned the most daily deaths with 1,762, followed by Russia (765) and Poland (301).

The countries reporting the highest death rates in proportion to their population were Trinidad and Tobago with 10.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Bulgaria (7.7), Georgia (6.9), Croatia (5.9) and Poland (5.6).