COVID-19 world weekly cases down 16% but Japan, South Korea up

By Allen Cone
Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako observe the modeling workshop at the Okinawa Craft Industry Promotion Center in Tomigusuku, Okinawa-Prefecture on Sunday. Masks are not required indoors or outdoors though cases rose 10% in the past week. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
1 of 2 | Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako observe the modeling workshop at the Okinawa Craft Industry Promotion Center in Tomigusuku, Okinawa-Prefecture on Sunday. Masks are not required indoors or outdoors though cases rose 10% in the past week. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Coronavirus cases continue to ease worldwide with a 16% weekly decline with only Japan and South Korea rising among nations with at least 25,000 infections, as deaths dropped 11% to a level the lowest since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

The seven-day moving average for cases was 383,078, the lowest since late June 202. In one week infections declined to 3,185,525 with the cumulative 632,897,206 Sunday. Cases on Sunday were 203,807, the lowest number since 176,270 July 6, 2020, with 245,648 Saturday. The last time cases were above 1 million was July 31.


The seven-day moving average for deaths was down to 1,231, the fewest since March 22, 2020, 11 days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, according to In one week deaths declined to 8,857 with the cumulative 6,582,836 Sunday.


Daily deaths worldwide dropped to 625 Saturday, the least since 381 March 12, 2020, with 625 Saturday.

Some nations do not report data on weekends. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went to weekly updates Thursday.

The records were 3,848,008 cases on Jan. 21, during the height of the Omicron subvariant, and 16,865 deaths on Jan. 21, 2021, when the Delta subvariant was at its peak.

Of the big countries, only South Korea reported cases increase, 18%, and deaths, 2%. South Korea had 172,082 cases in the past seven days, which was the seventh-most in the world, with deaths 166 in 13th place.

Japan's infections rose 10% but deaths dropped 3%. Japan had 407 deaths in ninth place and 232,471 in fifth.

Germany again posted the most weekly cases, 563,858 but it was a 15% drop, three weeks after a 60% gain, and the second-most deaths at 1,062, with 20% rise one week after a 88% gain.

France, for the second week in a row, had the second-most cases, 351,717, which dropped 11%. In deaths, the United States was No. 1 at 1,384, which decreased 37%.

Other case decreases in the past week with more than 25,000 in descending order were Taiwan 12% at No. 3 272,422, Italy 12% at No. 4 252,777, United States 33% at No. 6 172,358, Russia 33% at No. 8 72,063, Austria 29% at No. 9 64,592, SIngapore 6% at No. 10 53,825, Britain 34% at 40,521, Hong Kong 7% at No. 12 37,782, Brazil 28% at No. 13 37,146, Chile 38% at No. 14 34,497, Australia 11% at No. 15 29,048.


Among nations reporting more than 100 deaths with increases in the past week: Italy 23% at No. 5 586, Brazil 57% at No. 7 470, Taiwan 3% at No. 8 415, Philippines 7% at No. 11 265, Spain 4% at No. 12 186, Chile 16% at No. 15 123, Hungary 13% at No. 16 118, Indonesia 12% at No. 17 115.

Decreases were Britain 16% at No. 3 715, Russia 10% at No. 4 642, Canada 4% at No. 10 288, Poland 10% at No. 14 129.

In the past week, Asia reported 32% of the world's cases and it dropped 0.8% for a cumulative 192,687,176, according to The continent has 59% percent of the world's population.

South America was the only continent with cases increasing: 26% to 64,342,093. Decreasing were Europe at 21% with a cumulative world-high 233,159,940. Decreasing were North America 33% for 117,497,461, Oceania 31% for 12,545,889, Africa 16% for 12,663,926.

Two continents reported an increase in deaths: South America 10% for 1,332,065 and Asia 1% for 1,485,709, Decreasing were for Africa 60% for 257,767, North America 33% for 1,549,651, Oceania 29% for 21,434, Europe 5% for a world-high 1,936,195.

The United States leads with 1,092,948 fatalities and 99,087,548 infections. The nation also holds the world record for daily cases at 907,019 on Jan. 7. Brazil is second in deaths at 687,680, including 15 Sunday and fifth in cases at 34,830,752, including 6,742 most recently.


India is second in cases at 44,642,742, including 1,994 Sunday and third in deaths at 528,961 including 4 Sunday, with single deaths reported in April and zero the last time on March 24, 2020.

India has the daily deaths record at 4,529 on May 18, 2021, with no adjustments from regions.

In the top 10 for deaths, Mexico is fifth with 330,320 and no weekend data, Peru sixth with 216,877 , Britain seventh with 19,682, Italy eighth with 175,594 including 52 Sunday, Indonesia ninth with 158,429 including 13 Sunday and France 10th with 156,337.

In the top 10 for cases, France is third with 36,599,821 including 31,470 Sunday, Germany dropping to fifth behind Germany in the past week with 35,172,693, Britain seventh with 23,855,522, Italy eighth with 23,348,075 including 25,553 Sunday, Japan ninth with 21,991,277 including 30,873 Sunday, Russia 10th with 21,372,935 including 8,672 Sunday.

A new Omicron subvariant likely to become dominant by mid-November in Europe, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said.

The BQ.1 subvariant, and its sublineage BQ.1.1, will help send cases up in "coming weeks to months," the agency said Friday.

European countries with the highest proportions reported for samples collected most recently are France (19%), Belgium (9%), Ireland (7%), The Netherlands (6%) and Italy (5%).


Updated boosters by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna target at least the older Omicron subvariants.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended them for children under 6 years old. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier approved Pfizer for children 5-11 and Moderna for 6-17.

In the United States, they are reponsible for 16.6% of cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Bloomberg is no longer tracking vaccine usages worldwide. In itslast update Oct. 7, Europe's one-shot rate was 76.1%.

In Japan the vaccination rate has plateaued with just 65.% of those eligible injected three times, comparedwith more than 80% twice, according to data from the Prime Minister's Office. Children with two doses are in the 20% range.

Meanwhile, cases have been rising as restrictions ease. Japan's seven-day moving case average is 33,210, the high since July, with the record 255,534 seventh weeks ago.

"It would not be surprising if infection numbers surpass those from the seventh wave," Hiroshi Nishiura, a professor at Kyoto University, told Koyodo News.

Japan has 368 deaths per million, which is 146th in the nation, with the world at 844.5 and Peru No. 1 at 6,373. In cases, Japan's rate is 175,109 per million in 89th place with the world 81,186 and Austria the highest among large countries at 591,639 with France 557,395, Portugal 543,962 and Denmark 536,235. Japan's population is 125 million.


South Korea cases' seven-day average is 24,583, compared with 21,009 on Oct. 11, the lowest since mid-July. In late June it was around 7,000. The daily record was 621,328 on March 17.

The government last week reported a few confirmed cases of the new variants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1.

China, where COVID-19 emerged, 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 207 cases with 5,659 on April 29. Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.

On Thursday, China locked down portions of Xi'an for at least one week. The entire central Chinese metro area of 13 million was locked down for one month earlier this year.

Shanghai's 25 million residents were locked down for two months.

Beijing is the only major city to have avoided a full lockdown so far.

Hong Kong, like China, has adopted a "zero tolerance" for coronavirus with strong restrictions eased, including hotel quarantine for arrivals from other nations. Last week, Hong Kong announced plans to increase the number of people allowed to gather in public to 12 from four on Thursday.


Hong Kong reported four deaths and 5,535 cases Sunday with the record 79,876 on March 3.

The BA.5 Omicron strain has become the most dominant in the world, accounting for 62.2% of cases in the United States, according to the CDC projections through Wednesday. The strain was first tracked in late April.

The CDC has classified 1.4% of counties, districts and territories with a "high" category level, compared with 17.6% "medium" and 80.9% "low." In "high" locations, masks are urged indoors with areas including northern New York, southwest Montana, eastern Arizona and centrai Maine.

In its weekly update Thursday, the CDC reported 260,808 cases, the lowest since 194,600 April 6. The record was 5,589,403 Jan. 19.

And the deaths average fell to 2,566, the lowest since 1,700 July 6 and the record 23,376 Jan. 13, 2021.

New weekly hospitalizations in the United States for one week were 3,156, which is a 4.4% weekly drop. A total of 5,422,246 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since its inception with a population of 332 million. The U.S. total reported Sunday was 26,542 which is 3.77% capacity, and far below the record 160,113 (20.6%) on Jan. 20, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.


On Thursday in its weekly report, the CDC said the U.S. adult one-shot vaccination rate was 92% with completed primary service at 78% and one booster at 52.3%. The full population rates are 80% for one shot, 68.2% for two, 49.1% for three, 40.6% for four with only those 50 and older allowed to get the second booster.

Though cases and deaths are easing as vaccination rates rise, long Covid is "devastating" the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of people, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, wrote for The Guardian.

WHO estimates 10% to 20% of survivors have had mid- and long-term symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and cognitive dysfunction. Women are twice as likely to suffer from the condition, WHO says.

"While the pandemic has changed dramatically due to the introduction of many lifesaving tools, and there is light at the end of the tunnel, the impact of long Covid for all countries is very serious and needs immediate and sustained action equivalent to its scale," Tedros wrote.

"Early in the pandemic, it was important for overwhelmed health systems to focus all of their life saving efforts on Covid-19 patients presenting with acute infection," he said. "However, it is critical for governments to invest long-term in their health system and workers and make a plan now for dealing with long Covid."


He said this should include "providing immediate access to antivirals to patients at high risk of serious disease, investing in research and sharing new tools and knowledge as they're identified to prevent, detect and treat patients more effectively. It also means supporting patients' physical and mental health as well as providing financial support for those who are unable to work."

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