Healthcare

WHO: COVID-19 cases up 11 percent worldwide, omicron risk ‘remains very high’

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said COVID-19 cases increased by 11 percent globally last week when compared to figures from the week before, adding that the surge saw its largest increase in the Americas.

WHO reported 4.99 million new cases from Dec. 20 to Dec. 26 as cases have steadily risen since October, according to The Associated Press.

While Europe only saw a 3 percent increase in cases during the last week, it accounted for 2.84 million of the total cases around the world. Cases in the Americas were up 39 percent and accounted for 1.48 million of the global case totals, including 1.18 million cases and a 34 percent increase in the U.S. alone, the AP reported.

The agency also reported that COVID-19 deaths were down by 4 percent globally to 44,680.

The agency noted that the delta variant is the dominant strain of COVID-19 in parts of the world but said that “consistent evidence” indicated that “the overall risk related to the new variant … omicron remains very high.”

While the omicron variant, which was discovered last month in South Africa, is highly contagious, studies have indicated that it tends to lead to more mild COVID-19 infections. Specifically, it is thought to be notably less likely to hospitalize people than the delta variant.

Tags COVID-19 Delta omicron Variant WHO World Health Organization

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