People wearing protective masks walk toward Shinjuku railway stations after their work in Tokyo, Japan o b Thursday. Tokyo marked a record 40,406 new cases that day and the national mark of 233,100. Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA.EFE
July 31 (UPI) -- Japan reported one-fifth of the world's COVID-19 cases in the past week, including a record 233,100 Thursday, as infections dropped 12% and deaths 7% globally.
On Sunday, Japan announced 197,792 infections for a total of 12,796,261 in 12th place. Deaths were 82 for a total of 32,626 in 30th. Japan surpassed 200,000 for the first time the previous week.
In the past week, Japan added a world-high 1,358,248 infections, a 54% percent gain.
As the BA.5 Omicron subvariant spreads worldwide, infections dropped to 6,216,102 with a daily average of 888,015 and passing 1 million the last time on April 13, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. On Jan. 21, the daily record was set at 3,842,371. The total is 581,999,281, including 671,131 Saturday when Japan added 221,938.
Fatalities in the past week were down to 13,912. That daily average is 1,987 with the recent low 1,235 on July 4, the lowest since 1,075 on March 21, 2020, 10 days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The total is 6,419,772, including 857 Sunday and 1,252 Saturday. It was last under 1,000 on June 19 with 908.
Some nations do not report data on weekends. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't report data on Saturdays and Sundays.
Other case increases in the past week with more than 25,000 in descending order were South Korea 31% with 556,281 in third, Russia 65% with 64,489, Iran 33% with 61,977, Romania 39% with 56,906, Serbia 49% with 38,284.
The United States reported the second most cases, 709,166 but a 23% drop, No. 4 Germany at 522,181 with an 18% decline, No. 5 Italy at 393,916 with a 26% decrease, No. 6 France 345,810 with a 36% drop, No. 7 Australia 312,056 with a 5% decrease.
Among nations reporting more than 100 deaths with big increases in the past week: Italy 27% with No. 3 1,205, Germany 23% with No. 4 795, Australia 41% with No. 6 671, Iran 75% with 287, New Zealand 48% with 251, Thailand 56% with 232, South Korea 35% with 172, Romania 217% with 130, Israel 68% with 123, Australia 66% with 103.
The United States reported the most deaths, 2,022 but a 30% drop. Brazil was second with 1,558 with a 4% decline.
Asia was the only continent to report a weekly case increase: 12% for a cumulative 169,884,294. Posting weekly cases decreases were Africa 29% for 12,526,197, Europe 28% for a world-high 215,594,978, North America 24% for 110,459,751, South America 23% for 62,266,290, Oceania 5% for 11,367,629.
Gains in deaths were: Oceania 44% for 16,767 and Asia 28% for 1,448,166. Decreases were Africa 29% for 256,886, North America 24% for 1,504,838, Europe 11% for a world-high 1,877,127, South America 9% for 1,315,973.
The U.S. leads with 1,055,059 fatalities and 93,082,195 infections, according to Worldometers.info. The U.S. holds the world record for daily cases at 909,017 on Jan. 13. Brazil is second in deaths at 678,578, inclding 41 Sunday and fourth in cases at 33,833,900, including 14,449 Sunday, dropping Saturday behnd France, which added 31,335 Sunday for a total of 33,859,575. India is second in cases at 44,019,811, including 19,675 Sunday and third in deaths at 526,357, including 45 Sunday.
India has the daily deaths record at 4,529 on May 18, 2021, with no adjustments from regions.
Russia is fourth in deaths at 382,433, including 38 Sunday with 34 Monday, tied for the least since 34 on April 16, 2020.
In the top 10 for deaths, Mexico is fifth with 327,720 including 17 Sunday, Peru sixth with 214,303 including 76 Sunday, Britain seventh with 183,953 with no data on weekendd, Italy eighth with 172,086 including 83 Sunday, Indonesia ninth with 156,993 including 10 Sunday, and France 10th with 151,983 with no change Sunday.
In the top 10 for cases, Germany is fifth with 30,853,312, Britain sixth with 23,304,479, Italy seventh with 21,040,025 including 36,966 Sunday, South Korea eighth with 19,776,050 including 73,589 Sunday, Russia ninth with 18,601,719 including 12,498 Sunday, Turkey 10th with 15,889,495.
In all, more than 12.3 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, with the world's population of 7.9 billion, according to Bloomberg tracking. Mainland China leads with 2 billion doses administered and a 92.4% one-shot vaccination rate among the 1.5 billion population, the most in the world.
Broken down by world regions, Asia-Pacific, Latin American and U.S.-Canada have administered at least one dose to 80% of the population, with Europe at 69%, Middle East 57% and Africa at 26%, according to The New York Times tracking. The percentages didn't change from the past week.
In Japan despite a seventh wave, the central government has said it will not restrict people's social activities or ask businesses to curb hours though prefectural governors will more authority to implement anti-virus measures based on the local situation.
When the nation set a mark for cases Thursday above 200,000, Tokyo's hit a record 40,406.
"We expect record numbers to continue nationwide," said Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, who chairs a panel of experts advising the health ministry, in a report by the Financial Times.
In the first peak, cases hit 26,184 on Aug. 22, amid the Delta surge and two weeks after the close of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which were delayed one year because of the pandemic. The cases record until the surge was 105,816 on Feb. 6.
The latest surge is being fueled by younger people, with those under 20 making up 30% of new infections in July compared with 19% last August.
Half of all new cases were among those under 30.
Vaccination rates are lower among younger people.
About 33% of those aged between 12 and 19 are triple-vaccinated. The rate for those 5 to 11 have a 17% rate for two doses, which began in February. A booster has not been approved yet for those 5-11.
A fourth shot is being distributed to those 65 and older.
"The biggest factor [for the increase in cases] is the slow progress with inoculation for children," Junichiro Nishi, an expert on infectious diseases at Kagoshima University, told the Financial Times. "It feels like it's too late now to stop the spread, but in the longer term, a third dose of vaccination for the ages between five and 11 will be necessary."
Despite the rising numbers, Japan has low cases and deaths rates.
Japan has 259 deaths per million, which is 126th in the nation with the world at 823.5 and Peru No. 1 at 6,314.
In cases, roughly 10% of the population has been infected with 99,885 per million in 117th place with the world 74,552 and Portugal the highest among large countries at 526,941. Japan's population is 125 million.
The BA.5 Omicron strain has become the most dominant in the world with it accounting for 81.9% of cases in the United States, according to the CDC data through July 23. The strain was first tracked in late April. Virtually all of the cases are linked to the Omicron variant.
The CDC has classified 45.8% of countries, districts are territories with a "high" category level with 35.5% "medium" and 18.7% "low." In "high" locations, masks are urged indoors.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is Biden's chief medical adviser, said last week that vaccines targeting the new sub-variant should be ready by this fall. But he cautioned BA.5-specific vaccines may become less effective once another Omicron subvariant replaces it.
"You're dealing with a moving target," he said on The Hill's Rising television show. "There's always the possibility that you're going to have the evolution of another variant... And hopefully, if that occurs, it will vary off from the BA.5 only slightly-in the sense of being a sub-sublineage of it, and not something entirely different."
COVID-19 treatments, including Paxlovid, are predicted to be effective to mitigate the illness.
New hospitalizations in the U.S. from July 20 to Tuesday were 6,340, which is a 1.7% weekly gain. A total of 5,035,837 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since its inception.
China, where COVID-19 emerged more than 2 1/2 years ago, has reported 5,226 deaths. Before a spike in April, it was 4,636, which stayed at that number since early February 2021.
On Sunday, China reported 116 cases with 5,659 on April 29. Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.
Shanghai, which was locked down because of the recent outbreak, has been trending down to single digits for three consecutive days, including three locally transmitted confirmed cases and three local asymptomatic infections Sunday.
The vaccination rate among the total population is 78.7% for one shot and 67.2% for two though children only five only received have been cleared to get the shots.
Shanghai will launch new mandatory mass nucleic acid screening in five districts starting Tuesday to contain the risk of transmission of COVID-19.