Western Pacific Region and Africa recorded 21% and 20% increase in the number of new weekly deaths respectively
The COVID-19 wave triggered by the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is on a descent across the world with new cases and deaths declining by 21 per cent and 8 per cent respectively, compared to the previous week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Western Pacific Region and the African Region, however, recorded an increase in the weekly new cases and deaths, WHO’s weekly epidemiological report from February 22, 2022 showed.
In the past week, more than 12 million new cases and over 67,000 new deaths were reported in all six WHO regions. The Western Pacific Region recorded a 29 per cent and a 21 per cent increase in the number of new weekly cases and new weekly deaths respectively. Africa recorded a 20 per cent increase in new weekly deaths.
South-East Asia recorded a 37 per cent decline in new weekly deaths, the regions of the Americas recorded a nine per cent decline, while the European and Eastern Mediterranean regions witnessed a five per cent and four per cent decline respectively.
The highest number of weekly cases were recorded in the Russian Federation (1,236,910 new cases; seven per cent drop in weekly cases), Germany (1,218,465 new cases; 8 per cent drop), Brazil (773,353 new cases; 23 per cent drop), the United States of America (746,129 new cases; 39 per cent drop) and the Republic of Korea (612,195 new cases; 80 per cent increase), the report showed.
The highest number of new deaths were reported from the US (14,723 new deaths; six per cent decline in weekly deaths), Brazil (5,877 new deaths; 11 per cent decline), the Russian Federation (5,252 new deaths; 8 per cent increase), India (3,238 new deaths; 51 per cent decline) and Mexico (2,221 new deaths; 8 per cent rise).
Research has emerged from South Africa, which became the epicenter of the outbreak in November last year, on population immunity and COVID-19 severity with an omicron infection.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine journal examined the samples of 7,010 participants — 18 per cent of whom were vaccinated against COVID-19. As per the findings, 56.2 per cent of children below the age of 12 had SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity while the figure for the same stood at 79.7 per cent for adults over 50.
Moreover, 93.1 per cent of those vaccinated were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2, in comparison to 68.4 per cent of unvaccinated people indicative of immunity acquired through natural infection.
“The incidence of infection was decoupled from the incidences of hospitalisations, recorded deaths and excess deaths during the fourth wave in South Africa, as compared with the proportions seen during previous waves,” the study noted.
The omicron wave hit South Africa at a time when its vaccine coverage was poor: Just 36 per cent in those above the age of 12 years and a second shot had been administered under the national vaccine rollout program to only 20.1 per cent of the eligible population.
French drugmaker Sanofi SA and its British partner GlaxoSmithKline’s COVID-19 vaccine has 57.9 per cent protection against symptomatic infection and 100 per cent efficacy against severe disease and death, according to new data by the company released February 23.
It also showed an 18- to 30-fold increase in neutralising antibodies when administered as a booster shot in those who received an mRNA or adenovirus vaccine as primary doses.
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