Global COVID cases and deaths soar, but signs of slowdown

The number of average daily cases leapt to a record 3.1 million this week to Thursday, an increase of 11% compared to the previous seven days according to an AFP tally.

People walk at Shinagawa station in Tokyo on 13 January 2021 as Japan expanded the COVID-19 coronavirus state of emergency to seven more regions and tightened border restrictions. Picture: Philip Fong/AFP

PARIS - The average number of daily COVID-19 cases passed a record three million globally this week, while deaths surged for a second week in a row.

Here is a state of play based on AFP's database.

THREE MILLION CASES

The number of average daily cases leapt to a record 3.1 million this week to Thursday, an increase of 11% compared to the previous seven days according to an AFP tally.

However, the upsurge was less marked than in previous weeks, when the highly contagious Omicron variant began its rampage.

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

UPSURGE IN ASIA

The week's main upsurge took place in Asia -- particularly in India -- where the number of daily cases increased by 57%. There was also an increase of 36% in the Latin America-Caribbean zone and the Middle East, which was up 32%.

However, there was a let up in areas were Omicron appeared first, with cases falling by a tenth in Africa and 6% in the United States and Canada.

Although infections increased by 9% in Europe, this was still at a slower pace than previous weeks.

Oceania also saw an improvement with cases down by almost a third.

MAIN SPIKE

Nepal saw the biggest increase in new infections, with cases rocketing by 330 percent.

It was followed by Kosovo with an increase of 281 percent, Kazakhstan 271 percent, Iraq 256 percent and Japan 252 percent.

MAIN DROPS

Ireland saw the biggest drop in new cases, with a 56 percent decline, followed by Namibia with a 51 percent drop, then Cyprus with 35 percent, while the United Kingdom and Greece saw 32 percent fewer cases each.

US STILL HA MOST CASES

The United States remains by far the country with the biggest number of new cases with 751,900 per day on average, a decrease of six percent from the previous week.

Next in line came France with 337,200, an increase of 15 percent, and India with 271,500, an increase of 57 percent.

On a per capita basis, the country with the biggest number of new cases this week remained Denmark with 3,826 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. It was followed by Israel with 3,589, France 3,496, Portugal 2,796 and Slovenia 2,733.

DEATHS ON THE RISE

At a global level the number of COVID-linked deaths took off again, up nine percent compared to the previous week to 7,526 per day.

The US mourned the most daily deaths with 1,969 per day, followed by Russia with 698 and India with 380.

The countries reporting the highest death rates in proportion to their population were Trinidad and Tobago with 8.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Bulgaria with 8.50, Slovakia and Croatia with 7.2 each and Bosnia with seven.