Children wait to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Leon, Guanajuato state, Mexico, on Thursday. Children under 12 years of age received the first dose of the vaccine. Mexico's cases rose 51% in the past week. Photo by Luis Ramirez/EPA-EFE
July 3 (UPI) -- COVID-19 cases worldwide are spiking though nowhere near the surge during the Omicron subvariant in January with deaths among the lowest since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Hotspots are in portions of Europe plus Mexico, Brazil and India.
In the past week, infections rose 4,990,935 at 7% with a daily average of 712,991, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. On Jan. 25, the record was set at 3,417,955. The total through Sunday is 554,343,968.
Meanwhile, fatalities dropped 4% for a total of 9,372 in the past week. That daily average of 1,339 is the lowest since 1,076 on March 21, 2020, 10 days after the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. Through Sunday the total is 6,361,372, including 336,614 Sunday after 396,726 Saturday.
Some nations do not report data on weekends. On Sunday 566 deaths were reported, the fewest since 463 March 13, with 765 Saturday and 774 last Sunday.
Big case increases in the past week with more than 25,000 in descending order were France 32% at 614,286 with the third-most in the world, Italy 51% in fourth at 337,152, Japan 28% at 128,701 in ninth, Mexico 52% at 118,171 in 11th, Greece 48% at 100,630 in 13th, Singapore 50% at 57,865 in 18th, New Zealand 45% at 48,909 in 19th.
The United States reported the most cases, 640,024 but a 16% drop and No.2 Germany at 621,518 with a 105 gain.
Among nations reporting more than 100 deaths with big increases in the past week: Germany 26% in fourth at 558, India 39% in 11th at 200, Japan 83% in 13th at 190, Greece 37% in 16th at 114. Like in cases, the United States reported the most deaths, 1,911 with a 14% drop. Brazil was second with 1,520 with a 12% rise.
Posting weekly cases increases were Europe 20% for a world-high 204,674,261, Oceania 15% for 9,909,713, South America 4% for 59,929,277. Declines were North America 8% for 105,815,533, Africa 7% for 12,345,060, Asia 5% for 161,669,392.
Gains in deaths were: South America 8% for 1,306,064, Oceania 3% for 14,241, Europe 1% for a world-high 1,856,441. Decreases were Africa 33% for 255,986, North America 11% for 1,488,658, Asia 11% for 1,439,967.
"This pandemic is changing but it's not over," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last Wednesday during a media briefing. "Our ability to track the COVID-19 virus is under threat as reporting and genomic sequences are declining meaning it is becoming harder to track Omicron and analyze future emerging variants."
He noted cases are rising in 110 nations.
"Hundreds of millions of people, including tens of millions of health workers and older people in lower-income countries remain unvaccinated, which means they are more vulnerable to future waves of the virus," the WHO chief said. "With only 58 countries hitting the 70% target, some have said it's not possible for low-income countries to make it."
In all, more than 12 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, a gain of more than 100 million in a week, 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 57% and Africa at 23%, according to The New York Times tracking. The percentages didn't drop in two weeks.
The continent had 18% of the world's cases and 16.8% of the deaths in the past week but 57.8% of the population.
India's cases rose 17% over one week with 16,103 reported Sunday for a total of 43,502,429, which is second behind the United States, with 18,819 on Thursday, the most since 19,968 Feb. 19. On April 11, cases dropped to 796. The record was 414,188 on May 6, 2021.
India also reported 31 deaths for a total of 525,199, third behind the United States and Brazil. The record was 4,529 on May 18, 2021, with no adjustments from regions. Single deaths were reported in April with zero the last time on March 24, 2020.
Fueling the surge are the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron, which ran rampant in January, along with BA.1, and another sub-variant branched off from it, called BA.2.38.
On Sunday, Taiwan reported 32,681 cases for a cumulative 3,870,528 in 34th worldwide and 88 deaths for 6,956 in 78th.
Taiwan, with a population of 23.6 million, had a national-record 94,610 cases May 27.
It set a daily deaths record of 211 on June 11.
Taiwan is officially the Republic of China and a separate nation from the People's Republic of China.
Unlike Mainland China -- around 100 miles away -- Taiwan had few cases and deaths when the pandemic emerged there in January 2020.
Mainland China, with the world's largest population at 1.5 billion, has a zero-tolerance for the virus, including in Shanghai which had been locked down for more than two months but is now allowing in-person dining and Disney Resort theme park to reopen both last week.
"Overall, the Chinese government is starting to make a balance between supporting growth and suppressing the virus spread after the strict lockdown in Shanghai," Ken Cheung, chief Asian foreign exchange strategist for Mizuho Bank, told CNN.
But he said it remains "highly uncertain" when China will reopen its borders to nonresidents.
In Mainland China, there are a total of 225,851 cases, including 104 Sunday and a gain of 225 in one week. Deaths remain unchanged at 5,226 for the past week for 88th 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.
Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.
Hong Kong reported 1,828 cases Sunday for a total of 1,237,877 with the record 56,827 on March 10, and no fatalities and seven in a week for a cumulative 9,405, 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.
North Korea, with a population of 25 million, has had cases grow to 4,752,080 in 24th worldwide, including 3,550 Sunday with the record 392,930 May 16. The one-week drop was 59%. Deaths remained at 73 for two weeks.
The first cases were reported on May 12.
South Korea reported 10,059 cases with a record 621,328 March 17. Deaths were eight with a record 470 on March 24 while the mark until this year was 109 on Dec. 23.
The nation dropped to ninth in the world behind Russia at 18,389,611 cases with only 630,748 reported through the end of last year. Deaths are 24,570 in 39th.
Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is ninth in deaths at 156,749, including four Sunday and 19th in cases at 5,093,917 with 1,614 Sunday. The records are 64,718 infections in February and 2,069 last July.
Iran is 11th in deaths at 141,396 with six reported Sunday.
Vietnam is down to 511 cases Sunday, a fraction of the record 203,036 in March. The nation is 12th overall in the world with 10,748,639. And deaths are 43,087 in 24th with three reported in the past week.
Turkey is 10th in cases at 15,123,331 and 19th in deaths at 99,032 with data last reported Tuesday.
Japan reported 23,299 cases and is at 9,404,529 in 14th and deaths are 31,331, a daily gain of 5.
Japan is holding off launching a tourism campaign that originally was to start this month,
"We'll respond (to the COVID-19 resurgence) with a strong sense of awareness and caution," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told a news conference Friday. "We want to monitor the state of infections a little more."
Following is the rank order of some nations' vaccination rates in Asia: Mainland China 91.7%, Hong Kong 90.8%, Vietnam 88.7%, Singapore 88.3%, South Korea 87%, Malaysia 85.1%, Japan 82.4%, Iran 76.8%, Israel 76.6%, Indonesia 74.4%, India 73.7%, Turkey 69.2% and Philippines 69.%.
Four nations are in the top 10 for deaths: Russia fourth with 381,283, including 47 Sunday, the fewest since 44 April 20, 2020; Britain seventh at 180,417 with no data every day; Italy eighth at 168,415 with 61 Sunday and France 10th at 149,485 with none reported Saturday.
Germany is 12th in deaths at 141,292 with no data on the weekend but fifth in cases at 27,8,392,629 including 89,336 Saturday.
Russia is fourth in cases at 18,439,759 with 3,080 Sunday.
Italy's cases are 18,768,871 in ninth overall, adding 71,947 Sunday.
Russia is lagging the world in vaccinations with 56% 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%.
Most nations in Europe are heavily vaccinated. In the European Union, it's 76%, including 87.6% in Spain, 85.2% in Italy, 83.6% in France, 82.9% in Denmark, Britain 79%, 77.8% in Germany, 76.8% in Austria, 73.6% in Netherlands. Britain's data is from the government.
Most European nations no longer have any travel restrictions for visitors except proof of vaccination in some places.
The United States and Mexico are in the top 10 for most deaths.
The U.S. totals are 1,043,308 fatalities and 89,522,328 infections, according to Worldometers.info. The U.S. holds the world record for daily cases at 908,614 on Jan. 13.
The nation on Friday reported 109,010 cases with a seven-day moving average of 109,944, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was 110,618 occurring May 26, the highest since 118,918 on Feb. 16. Deaths were 403 most recently and a seven-day moving average of 316.
In Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of 3.2 million residents, there were 22,975 cases in the past week in sixth place, behind much bigger California with 129,920, Florida with 74,481, Texas with 72,987, New York with 41,966, Illinois with 27,094
Mexico is fifth in the world in deaths at 325,788 with 13 Sunday and the record 1,417 in late January a year ago. The nation's cases are 20th at 6,089,600 with 6,301 Sunday and 24,610 Saturday, the most since mid-May except for 31,216 in April far more than during that week.
The U.S. CDC last week raised Mexico to a Level 3 travel risk, the highest category.
"If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, avoid travel to Mexico," the health agency said in its advisory. "Even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19."
Canada's cases increased 19% in one week with no data Saturday and Sunday for 33rd with 3,946,087 The record was 55,359 in mid-January. Canada's deaths are up 2% in one week and the nation ranks 25th worldwide with 42,010 with the record 257 on Dec. 29, 2020.
Canada has low rates per million with deaths at 1,094 and cases at 102.755. The United States is at 3,115 deaths per million compared with the world at 816.0 and 267,329 U.S. cases per million and the world at 71,072.
Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 85.701%. The United States is at 77.5% for one shot. Mexico's percentage is 69.1%.
In the top 10 for most deaths are Brazil in second at 672,017 and Peru sixth with 213,551. Colombia is 13th at 140,070.
Brazil reported 79 deaths Saturday with a record 4,211 early last April. And cases were 25,549.
Brazil's deaths rose in one week 13% and cases were up 13%, which is 414,961 in fifth in the world, for a total of 32,476,920 in third. The daily record is 286,050 in early February.
Peru, with six deaths reported Sunday, has the world's highest death rate at 6,301 per million people, which is 857 more than second-place Bulgaria. The highest cases per million among countries more than 100,000: Iceland at 564,881.
In Brazil, coronavirus is killing on average two children under the age of 5 years each day, according to a study by the children's health observatory Observa Infancia. The numbers were 599 in 2020 and 840 in 2021.
"It takes speed to bring vaccine protection to babies and children, especially [when they are aged] from 6 months to 3 years," Patricia Boccolini said. "Every day that we go without a vaccine against COVID-19 for children under 5, Brazil loses two children."
Chile has the best vaccination rate on the continent at 92.5% with Argentina 90.7%, Peru 88.1%, Brazil 87.2% and Colombia at 84.2%.
Australia reported 30,282 cases Sunday with a record of 150,702 in mid-January and a 9% weekly increase with 216,141, the seventh highest in the world. Until the Omicron surge, the record was 2,688 on Oct. 14. Overall, the nation is at 15th in cases with 8,225,124.
Deaths are 10,014, including 30 more Sunday. On Jan. 28, it set a daily record with 134.
At the start of the year there were 2,353 deaths.
"We've seen overseas that there is a greater risk of reinfection, so if you have had COVID earlier this year in the first wave over summer, there is a risk that you are open to reinfection," Health Minister Mark Butler said Friday in a media briefing. "I do encourage you to go out and get that booster that will provide further protection against the possibility of reinfection with these new subvariants over the coming months."
Australia's one-shot vaccination rate is 87% with New Zealand at 84.4%.
In New Zealand, cases rose by 48,909 in one week, including 5,174 Sunday, 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. New Zealand's total is 1,357,862 with the record 24,106 March 2.
The nation added 11 deaths for a total of 1,505 with 68 at the start of March.
South Africa, where the Omicron variant first emerged worldwide on Nov. 24, reported a 35% weekly deaths decrease and 51% drop in cases.
Overall, South Africa has reported 3,995,291 cases, in 31st worldwide, with 226 Sunday. The record was 37,875 during the Omicron surge.
The nation is 18th in deaths at 101,812, including one Sunday.
South Africa's vaccination rate is only 38.9% with Egypt at 50% and Tunisia at 60.8%.
Tunisia has the second-most deaths on the continent with 28,691, with data last reported Tuesday, ahead of Egypt with 24,613 with data last reported April 15.
Africa's new concern is monkeypox, which is afflicted 1,821 in Africa.'
"To improve understanding of how the virus is spreading across countries and continents, WHO is also supporting countries to capitalize on the improved genomic sequencing capacity built during the COVID-19 pandemic, to sequence the monkeypox virus," WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said during a media briefing last week.