Medical service personnel in the military hand out medical supplies at a pharmacy to curb the covid-19 Outbreak in Pyongyang, North Korea, in a photo released May 20 by the North Korean Central News Agency and distributed by EPA-EFE
May 29 (UPI) -- Nearly half of the world's weekly COVID-19 cases were in Asia last week with total infections among the fewest since November 2021 and deaths fewest since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
The global seven-day moving average for fatalities was 1,324, the lowest since 1,235 March 22, 2020, and a fraction of the record 14,264 on Jan. 31, 2021, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. And cases are 568,476, including 49% in Asia, compared with the mark of 3,409,273 on Jan. 25 this year during the Omicron variant surge.
Asia has 57.8% of the world's populaiton.
On Saturday there only 711 deaths reported then 552 Sunday, the lowest since 423 March 14, 2020 with some nations not reporting data. And cases were 439,971 Saturday but 232,295 were in Asia, including 88,530 in North Korea and 80,845 in Taiwan and 327,598 Sunday.
The record low for cases since the beginning of 2021 is 280,815 on June 21, 2021.
In all, 531,526,656 cases have been reported worldwide, including 3,979,357 in the past week, for a 29% decrease. And deaths rose by 9,342 over seven days, an 18% drop, for a cumulative 6,310,847.
Some nations are experiencing case surges, including North Korea rising a world-high 898,740 though the weekly decrease of 54%, followed by the United States with 609,744, a 20% drop, and Taiwan at 574,783, a 6% gain.
Also spiking: Brazil 101%, Chile 32%.
Big deaths increases are 670% in Austria though only 308 more, 93% in Taiwan, 16% in Australia.
South America had the biggest weekly increase in cases at 37% for a cumulative 57,614,650 with decreases by Asia at 36% for 155,636,907, Africa at 33% for 12,138,934, Europe at 31% for world-high 196,143,233, Oceania at 21% for 8,674,847, North America at 20% for 101,307,364.
In deaths, Oceania rose by 16% for 12,266 and Asia 2% for 1,431,448 but declines by Europe at 28% for world-most 1,840,185, North America 21% for 1,473,485, Africa 7% for 254,849, South America at 2% for 1,298,609.
Although the COVID-19 situation is vastly improved, the World Health Organization says there is a health crisis because of other types of outbreaks.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO leader, seven days ago in Geneva for the opening of the agency's World Health Assembly, said:
"Of course the [COVID-19] pandemic is not the only crisis in our world.
"As we speak our colleagues around the world are responding to outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, monkeypox and hepatitis of unknown cause and complex humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen.
"We face a formidable convergence of disease, drought, famine and war, fueled by climate change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry," he added.
There is no vaccine to curb Ebola but they are available for monkeypox and COVID-19.
In all, more than 11.9 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, an increase of 200 million for two weeks with the world's population of 7.9 billion, according to Bloomberg tracking.
Broken down by world regions, the United States and Canada have administered at least one dose to 79% of the population, the same as Latin America and Asia-Pacific with Europe at 69%, Middle East 56% and Africa at 22%, according to The New York Times tracking.
North Korea, with a population of 25 million, reportedly hasn't imported any coronavirus vaccines but it didn't report its first cases until May 12 and the first death the next day.
The numbers have grown to 3,448,880 cases, including 89,500 Sunday and a record 392,930 May 16 with 69 deaths total, including nine Sunday.
State-run KCNA reported Sunday that leader Kim Jong Un and other top officials says the pandemic situation has "improved."
Taiwan, which is officially the Republic of China and a separate nation from the People's Republic of China, reported a national-record 94,610 cases Friday and 76,605 Sunday. Taiwan, with a population of 23.6 million, has 1,892,272 infections though there were only 17,050 at the start of this year and 121 at the end of 2020.
Until a surge last month, the record for daily cases was 543 on May 19, 2021.
Taiwan also has a total of 2,056 deaths, including a record 145 Sunday.
Taiwan had a zero-tolerance approach to the virus until the surge but now has decided to have the island live with the virus.
On Saturday, Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center said a policy "would be announced soon: for reopening national borders to business travelers was being discussed with the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Approximately 14% of confirmed cases have received oral antiviral drugs, Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chou Jih-haw said.
Mainland China, with the world's largest population at 1.5 billion, still has a zero tolerance for the virus, including in Shanghai which has been locked down for eight weeks in most places though it is scheduled to end Wednesday.
Lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere have hurt the Chinese economy,
"Our members feel that the business environment has become a lot less predictable, largely due to the pandemic and its related restrictions," said Colm Rafferty, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told CNBC.
Shanghai unveiled a comprehensive 50-point plan, including elimination of a "white list" system of companies approved to resume production under a "closed loop."
In Beijing, the nation's capital, the outbreak is "effectively under control," Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the Beijing city government spokesman, told a news conference Saturday.
Most public transportation services will resume in three districts, and shopping centers outside of controlled areas in the city will also be allowed to reopen with capacity limits.
In Mainland China, there are a total of 223,933 cases, including 96 Sunday with 5,659 one month ago, which is the second-highest ever with the record 14,108 on Feb. 12, 2020. Deaths are 5,226, including none Sunday for 87th behind Palestine with 5,356. From January 2021 until this March there were no deaths reported. At the end of last year, the death count was 4,636. The most recent number of deaths reported: 52.
Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.
Hong Kong reported 237 cases Sunday for a total of 1,212,095 with the record 56,827 on March 10, and one fatality for a cumulative 9,376, including a record 294 on March 11 and none Sunday. Until this year, Hong Kong, an island of 7.6 million people that has separate governing and economic systems from Communist China, had reported only 163 deaths and 243,612 cases. In 2020, it was 148 deaths and 8,847 cases.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong will ease some testing requirements for inbound travel.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea reported 12,654 cases with a record 621,328 March 17. Deaths were 19 with a record 470 on March 24 while the mark until this year was 109 on Dec. 23.
The nation is eighth in the world at 18,080,323 cases with only 630,748 reported through the end of last year. Deaths are 24,158 in 39th.
India's deaths are at pandemic lows.
On Sunday, India reported 2,828 cases for a total of 43,153,043 in second behind the United States. The daily record was 414,438 May 6, 2021, and the recent low was 949 on April 14.
India, which has the second-highest population in the world at 1.4 billion, has a total of 524,586 deaths, including 14 Sunday. Single deaths were reported last month with zero the last time March 24, 2020, with the record 6,148 last June when the Delta variant emerged there.
Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is ninth in deaths at 156,574, including one Sunday and 19th in cases at 6,054,415 with 242 Sunday. The records are 64,718 infections in February and 2,069 last July.
Iran is 11th in deaths at 141,308, gaining two Sunday.
Vietnam is down to 890 cases Sunday, a fraction of the record 203,036 in March. The nation is 12th overall in the world with 10,717,251. And deaths are 43,078 in 24th with none reported Sunday.
Turkey is 10th in cases at 15,070,864 including 864 Sunday but 19th in deaths at 98,957, adding two Saturday.
Japan reported 20,828 cases and is at 8,820,330 in 14th, rising 213,912 in one week, the fifth-most in the world.
Following is the rank order of some nations' vaccination rates in Asia: Mainland China 92.9%, Hong Kong 90.2%, Singapore 88.2%, South Korea 87%, Vietnam 86.5%, Malaysia 84.9%, Japan 82.3%, Iran 76.7%, Israel 76.6%, Indonesia 74.1%, India 73.2%, Turkey 69.2% and Philippines 67.9%.
Four nations are in the top 10 for deaths: Russia fourth with 378,955 including 85 Sunday; Britain seventh at 178,465 with no data on weekends; Italy eighth at 166,569 with 27 Sunday and France 10th at 148,129 with no data Saturday.
Germany is 13th in deaths at 139,132 with none reported Saturday but fifth in cases at 26,280,221, including 26,097 most recently. Germany had the sixth-most cases in the world with 197,904 but dropped 36%. And its deaths in the past week were No. 7 with 423, though a 47% drop.
Italy had the eighth-most in the past week, 143,933 dropping 28%, and is at 17,373,741 in ninth overall in the world, adding 14,826 Sunday.
France is fourth in the world at 29,462,998, adding 23,582 Saturday. The record is 501,635 Feb. 1.
Russia reported 76 deaths Monday, the least since 61 on Sept 28, 2020, as well as 4,188 cases Sunday in seventh overall at 18,324,036.
Russia is lagging the world in vaccinations with 55.4% of its population with at least one dose of a domestic-produced vaccine, including Sputnik 5.
Two other Eastern European nations have low vaccination rates: Ukraine at 38% and Romania at 42.3%. Poland's rate is 60% and Czech Republic's is 65.1%.
Most nations in Europe are heavily vaccinated. In the European Union, it's 76.1%, including 87.5% in Spain, 85.1% in Italy, 83.5% in France, 83% in Denmark, 77.6% in Germany, 77.4% in Netherlands, 76.7% in Austria and Britain is at 69.1%.
Most European nations have dropped their restrictions.
And Spain has joined other European countries that have dropped Covid entry rules and permit entry to all travelers as summer holiday travel begins.
Spain still requires negative test results as is the case in Britain, France, Italy.
The United States and Mexico are in the top 10 for most deaths.
The United States' deaths dropped 18% in one week, which was No. 1 in the world at 1,689 and cases were down 20% with 609,744, second in the world. On Saturday, the United States reported 42 deaths and 22,595 cases though only three states reported data. Sunday on Arkansas reported data, according to Worldometers.info. Totals are 1,031,273fatalities and 85,716,214 infections. The U.S. holds the world record for daily cases at 909,664 on Jan. 13.
The U.S. on Wednesday reported 181,246 cases, the most since 197,137 on Feb. 9, then 111,994 most recently Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day moving average is 109,643, the highest since 118,902 Feb. 16. The CDC's cumulative death toll passed 1 million last week.
In Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of 3.2 million residents, there were 31,858 cases in the past week in sixth place, behind much bigger California with 108,013, Florida with 66,881, New York with 63,030. Illinois with 35,876, New Jersey with 34,729.
Mexico is fifth in the world in deaths at 324,768 with no data reported since Tuesday, an increase of 150 in one week and the record 1,417 in late January a year ago. The nation's cases are 21st at 5,759,773.
Canada's cases decreased 26% in one week with 878 Sunday for 31st with 3,865,143. The record was 55,359 in mid-January. Canada's deaths are down 33% in one week and the nation ranks 26th worldwide with 40,982 including two Sunday and 131 Thursday with the record 257 on Dec. 29, 2020.
Canada has low rates per million with deaths at 1,068 and cases at 100,708. The United States is at 3,081 deaths per million compared with the world at 809.6 and 251,091 cases per million and the world at 68,186.
High on the world list in cases per million: Iceland 543,242, Denmark 511,629, Netherlands 469,694, Austria 466,660, France 449,487 and Israel 443,246. Among the lowest: Mainland China 156, North Korea 929, Nigeria 1,186, Ethiopia 3,923, Egypt 4,864, Pakistan 6,881, Bangladesh 11,641, Venezuela 18,513. Saudi Arabia 21,390, Indonesia 21,699,
Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 86.228%. The United States is at 77.1% for one shot. Mexico's percentage is 68.0%.
In the top 10 for most deaths are Brazil in second at 666,496 and Peru sixth with 213,173. Colombia is 12th at 139,854.
Brazil reported 61 deaths Sunday with a record 4,211 early last April. Brazil's deaths rose 6% and cases were up 101% for seventh in the world at 165,356 with 8,195 most recently, for a total of 30,993,579 in third. The record is 286,050 in early February.
Peru, with 11 deaths reported Sunday, has the world's highest death rate at 6,298 per million people, which is nearly 900 more than second-place Bulgaria, and seven Saturday. The best rates in the world include Mainland China at 4 Nigeria 15, Ethiopia 62, North Korea 14, Kenya 101.
Colombia is now only reporting deaths weekly.
Chile has the best vaccination rate on the continent at 92.3% with Argentina 90.5%, Peru 87.5%, Brazil 86.6% and Colombia at 83.8%.
Australia reported 32,810 cases Sunday with a record of 150,702 in mid-January and an 22% weekly decrease with 278,912 the fifth highest in the world. Until the Omicron surge, the record was 2,688 on Oct. 14. Overall, the nation is at 17th in cases with 7,126,152.
Deaths are 8,460, including 30 more Sunday. On Jan. 28, it set a daily record with 134.
Australia's deaths per million is 325 and New Zealand is at 221.
Tens of thousands of Australians have had COVID more than once, including 10,000 in Victoria and 11,300 in New South Wales, with "COVID reinfection" generally defined as a second one at least three months after the first infection.
"It has changed the way it gets into our body and enters cells [and] it continues to surprise us," Dr. Stuart Turville, a virologist from the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "This thing changes so fast, in the next six months we may not be talking about Omicron, we may be talking about the next letter in the Greek alphabet."
With coronavirus surging in Australia during Omicron, the nation is living with the disease after widespread restrictions though its vaccination rate is high at 86.8%.
New Zealand's rate is 84.3%.
In New Zealand, cases increased 0.7% with the nation of 5 million people reporting only a few hundred cases a day before the Omicron variant, including a record 216 at the time on Nov. 24. On Sunday, New Zealand reported 4,899 cases for a total of 1,148,045 with the record 24,106 March 2.
The nation added nine deaths for a total of 1,107 with 68 at the start of March and an 84.3% vaccination rate.
South Africa, where the Omicron variant first emerged worldwide on Nov. 24, reported a 19% weekly deaths increase but 33% drop in cases.
Overall, South Africa has reported 3,953,967 cases, in 29th worldwide, with 1,774 Sunday. The record was 37,875 during the Omicron surge.
The nation is 18th in deaths at 101,146, including four Sunday.
South Africa's vaccination rate is only 38.2% with Egypt at 46.2% and Tunisia at 60.7%.
"You know with the pandemic, the lockdowns and clinics shutting down, there is a probability some infants and children might have missed their immunizations schedule and thus we now have these emergency outbreaks; measles in Zimbabwe and polio in Mozambique," Dr. Norman Matara, head of the Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights, said in a World Health Organization release May 18. "So, we really urge the government that as they fight COVID-19, we should intensify immunization of children especially in those neglected areas so that every child gets immunized. We also urge the government to implement strong surveillance systems."
Tunisia has the second-most deaths with 28,632 ahead of Egypt with 24,613.