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COVID-19 daily deaths average of 1,209 lowest since beginning of pandemic

By Allen Cone
A staff member wears a mask while demonstraitnga pair of Google Metaverse virtual reality glasses during the COMPUTEX 2022 exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 24. Photo by Ritchie B. Tomgo/EPA-EFE
A staff member wears a mask while demonstraitnga pair of Google Metaverse virtual reality glasses during the COMPUTEX 2022 exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 24. Photo by Ritchie B. Tomgo/EPA-EFE

June 5 (UPI) -- COVID-19's deaths worldwide have dropped to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

The global seven-day moving average for fatalities was 1,209, the lowest since 1,076 March 21, 2020, and a fraction of the record 14,264 on Jan. 31, 2021, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. And cases are 509,864, the fewest since 508,854 Nov. 26 and a fraction of the mark of 3,409,273 on Jan. 25 this year during the Omicron variant surge.

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On Saturday there only 783 deaths reported, the lowest since 712 March 15, 2020 with some nations not reporting data. Last Sunday there were 790 fatalities reported.

Cases were 509,864 Saturday with 79,110 in North Korea then 73,790 Sunday, the lowest since it reported its first cases May 12, and Taiwan 68,118 Saturday then 62,110 Sunday.

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The record low for cases since the beginning of 2021 is 280,815 on June 21, 2021.

In all, 535,263,115 cases have been reported worldwide, including 3,567,785 in the past week, for a 15% decrease. And deaths rose by 8,469 over seven days, a 16% drop, for a cumulative 6,320,208.

Some nations are experiencing case surges, including North Korea rising a world-high 637,310 though the weekly decrease of 29%, followed by the United States with 618,518, a 20% drop, and Taiwan at 527,094, an 8% decline.

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Big increases in the past week with more than 25,000: India 50%, Germany 31%, Brazil 26%, France 26%.

Among nations reporting more than 100 deaths in the past week, Germany was the big gainer with 195% at 773 and Taiwan 59% at 904.

Europe was the only continent to post a weekly increase in cases: 3% for a cumulative and world-high 196,902,553. Decreases were Asia 22% for 157,120,816, Africa 20% for 12,167,050 Oceania 20% for 8,935,278, North America 19% for 102,199,512, South America 2% for 57,937,185.

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In deaths, only Asia recorded a weekly increase: 2% for 1,433,083 cumularive. Declines were North America 31% for, 1,476,471, South America 20% for 1,299,453, Oceania 19% for 12,633, Europe 12% for a world-high 1,843,491, Africa 20% for 255,062.

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With coronavirus waning, delegates at the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland unanimously called for global COVID-19 immunization but overall vaccine coverage was urged with "activities and resources to be used to increase capacity, strengthen vaccine delivery infrastructure, improve data systems and enhance disease surveillance," according to a World Health Association news release. That includes meningitis.

In all, more than 12 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, an increase of 100 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. No percentages changed in the past week.

Asia

The continent had 42.9% of the world's cases and 20.1% of the deaths in the past week but 57.8% of the population. Last week 49% of the infections were in Asia.

North Korea, with a population of 25 million, has had cases grow to 4,070,480 in 28th worldwide. Deaths have risen to 71 with two in the past week and none Sunday.

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State-run KCNA reported that the wave has abated but the WHO has disputed claims of progress and believes the situation is getting worse, not better.

"We have real issues in getting access to the raw data and to the actual situation on the ground," WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan said during a video briefing Wednesday.

Taiwan, which is officially the Republic of China and a separate nation from the People's Republic of China, reported fewer cases than a national-record 94,610 cases May 27. With a population of 23.6 million, it has 2,404,871 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 2,939 deaths, including 124 Sunday and a national record 152 Saturday, including 1-year-old boy with pre-existing heart condition. And more than half of the new deaths were more than 80 years old.

Taiwan is considering loosening border restrictions, but no plans to allow tourists into the country.

Taiwan had a zero-tolerance approach to the virus until the surge but now has decided to have the island live with the virus.

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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 nine weeks in most places. It ended Wednesday as scheduled but one day later some neighborhoods returned to the restrictions when seven new cases were reported in the city's Jing'an and Pudong districts.

That means 2 million of the 25 million residents in Shanghai were confined to their homes.

In Beijing, the nation's capital, the city will allow indoor dining except for some districts, state media said on Sunday. Residents will need to show a negative test taken within 72 hours to enter public spaces and take public transport.

In Mainland China, there are a total of 224,310 cases, including 56 Sunday and a gain of 377 in one week 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 for the past week 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.

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Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.

Hong Kong reported 515 cases Sunday for a total of 1,215,153 with the record 56,827 on March 10, and four fatalities and 10 in a week for a cumulative 9,386, including a record 294 on March 11. 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.

Hong Kong last week again forced patients with even mild infections caused by the new Omicron subvariants and their close contacts into centralized quarantine.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea reported 9,835 cases with a record 621,328 March 17. Deaths were 20 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 18,163,686 cases with only 630,748 reported through the end of last year. Deaths are 24,258 in 39th.

The nation plans to remove the seven-day quarantine for unvaccinated foreign travelers starting Wednesday.

India's cases have been trending up.

On Sunday, India reported 4,270 cases, the most since 4,575 March 8, for a total of 43,176,817 in second behind the United States. The daily record was 414,438 May 6, 2021, and the recent low was 949 on April 14.

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India, which has the second-highest population in the world at 1.4 billion, has a total of 524,692 deaths, including 15 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 156,615, including five Sunday and 19th in cases at 6,056,800 with 388 Sunday. The records are 64,718 infections in February and 2,069 last July.

Iran is 11th in deaths at 141,442, gaining three Sunday.

Vietnam is down to 685 cases Sunday, a fraction of the record 203,036 in March. The nation is 12th overall in the world with 10,725,239. And deaths are 43,080 in 24th with none reported Sunday.

Turkey is 10th in cases at 15,073,247 and 19th in deaths at 98,965 with data no longer being reported daily.

Japan reported 15,109 cases and is at 8,949,926 in 14th, rising 129,596 in one week, the eighth-most in the world. Deaths are 30,766.

Following is the rank order of some nations' vaccination rates in Asia: Mainland China 94.2%, Hong Kong 90.3%, Singapore 88.2%, South Korea 87%, Vietnam 86.8%, Malaysia 85%, Japan 82.3%, Iran 76.7%, Israel 76.6%, Indonesia 74.1%, India 73.4%, Turkey 69.2% and Philippines 68.3%.

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Europe

Four nations are in the top 10 for deaths: Russia fourth with 379,520 including 75 Sunday; Britain seventh at 178,749 with no data every day; Italy eighth at 166,922 with 27 Sunday and France 10th at 148,462 with none reported Saturday.

Germany is 13th in deaths at 139,748 with four reported Sunday but fifth in cases at 26,540,610, including 26,097 most recently. Germany had the fourth-most cases in the world with 259,621, a 31% rise. And its deaths in the past week were No. 3 with 773.

Italy had the seventh-most in the past week, 116,400 dropping 19%, and is at 17,490,451 in ninth overall in the world, adding 15,82 Sunday.

France is fourth in the world at 29,462,998, adding 25,172 Saturday. The record is 501,635 Feb. 1.

Russia reported 74 deaths Monday, the least since 61 on Sept 28, 2020, as well as 3,786 cases Sunday in seventh overall at 18,351,851.

Russia is lagging the world in vaccinations with 55.5% 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 60.1% and Czech Republic's is 65.1%.

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Most nations in Europe are heavily vaccinated. In the European Union, it's 76.1%, including 87.5% in Spain, 85.2% 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 69.2%.

Most European nations have dropped their restrictions.

On Wednesday, Germany joins the list of restriction-free countries on travel but this is just for the summer.

Since May 16, passengers flying in the European Union no longer need to wear masks in airports or aboard flights though some countries have chosen to ignore this ruling.

North America

The United States and Mexico are in the top 10 for most deaths.

The United States' deaths dropped 31% in one week, which was No. 1 in the world at 1,500 and cases were down 20% with 618,518, second in the world. On Saturday, the United States reported 96 deaths and 46,180 cases though only 12 states and the District of Columbia reported data. Totals are 1,033,571 fatalities and 86,503,057 infections. The U.S. holds the world record for daily cases at 909,664 on Jan. 13.

The U.S. on Tuesday reported 176,973 cases, the most since 197,156 on Feb. 9, then 1139,808 most recently Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day moving average is 97,611 with 110,386 May 26, the highest since 118,910 Feb. 16.

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In Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of 3.2 million residents, there were 25,312 cases in the past week in seventh place, behind much bigger California with 104,473, Florida with 71,662, New York with 43,755. Texas with 39,632, Illinois with 32,605, New Jersey with 26.476.

Mexico is fifth in the world in deaths at 324,966 with no data reported since Friday with 15, an increase of 119 in one week and the record 1,417 in late January a year ago. The nation's cases are 21st at 5,782,405.

Canada's cases decreased 9% in one week with 903 Saturday for 32nd with 3,881,003. The record was 55,359 in mid-January. Canada's deaths are down 13% in one week and the nation ranks 26th worldwide with 41,245 including 10 Saturday and 122 Thursday with the record 257 on Dec. 29, 2020.

Canada has low rates per million with deaths at 1,075 and cases at 101,127. The United States is at 3,088 deaths per million compared with the world at 810.8 and 258,427 cases per million and the world at 68,669.

High on the world list in cases per million: Iceland 546,823, Denmark 512,112, Netherlands 470,154, Austria 468,658, France 451,880 and Israel 444,583. Among the lowest: Mainland China 156, North Korea 941, Nigeria 1,186, Ethiopia 3,942, Egypt 4,863, Pakistan 6,681.

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Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 86.467%. The United States is at 77.2% for one shot. Mexico's percentage is 68.0%.

South America

In the top 10 for most deaths are Brazil in second at 667,044 and Peru sixth with 213,248. Colombia is 12th at 139,867.

Brazil reported 25 deaths Saturday with a record 4,211 early last April. Brazil's deaths declined 22% and cases were up 26% for sixth in the world at 207,685 with 15,590 most recently, for a total of 31,153,069 in third. The daily record is 286,050 in early February.

Peru, with 20 deaths reported Sunday, has the world's highest death rate at 6,299 per million people, which is 872 more than second-place Bulgaria, and 20 Saturday. The best rates in the world include North Korea at two, Mainland China at four, Nigeria 15, Ethiopia 62, Kenya 101.

Colombia is now only reporting deaths weekly with an increase of nine.

Chile has the best vaccination rate on the continent at 92.4% with Argentina 90.6%, Peru 87.7%, Brazil 86.9% and Colombia at 83.8%.

Oceania

Australia reported 22,253 cases Sunday with a record of 150,702 in mid-January and a 23% weekly decrease with 215,491 the fifth highest in the world. Until the Omicron surge, the record was 2,688 on Oct. 14. Overall, the nation is at 16th in cases with 7,427,019.

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Deaths are 8,751, including 29 more Sunday. On Jan. 28, it set a daily record with 134.

Australia's deaths per million is 336 and New Zealand is at 236.

With coronavirus surging in Australia during Omicron, the nation is living with the disease after widespread restrictions though its vaccination rate is high at 86.9%.

New Zealand's rate is 84.3%.

In New Zealand, cases decreased 1% in one week 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 4,473 cases for a total of 1,196,033 with the record 24,106 March 2.

"So far most of our cases have been concentrated in younger age groups, but there's a risk that if we start to see increasing infections in those older age groups that will flow on to higher hospitalization numbers and higher deaths," modeler Michael Plank in New Zealand told RNZ.

"Given the timing of our first peak in March, now is the time when we're potentially going to start seeing increasing numbers of reinfections, because people are going to be in that period when they're more than 90 days since their first positive test."

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The nation added seven deaths for a total of 1,179 with 68 at the start of March and an 84.3% vaccination rate.

Africa

South Africa, where the Omicron variant first emerged worldwide on Nov. 24, reported a 12% weekly deaths decrease and 20% drop in cases.

Overall, South Africa has reported 3,967,078 cases, in 30th worldwide, with 1,656 Sunday. The record was 37,875 during the Omicron surge.

The nation is 18th in deaths at 102,313, including 28 Saturday.

South Africa's vaccination rate is only 38.2% with Egypt at 47.4% and Tunisia at 60.7%.

Tunisia has the second-most deaths with 28,641 ahead of Egypt with 24,613.

Deaths on the continent from COVID-19 are expected to fall by nearly 94% in 2022 compared with last year, modeling by the WHO showed last week.

"Our latest analysis suggests that estimated deaths in the African region will shrink to around 60 a day in 2022. ... Last year, we lost an average of 970 people every day," Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Africa director, told a virtual news conference ... However, the job is not yet done. Every time we sit back and relax, COVID-19 flares up again. The threat of new variants remains real, and we need to be ready to cope with this ever-present danger."

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WHO noted increased vaccination, better pandemic response and natural immunity from prior infections.

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