olunteer health workers wear protective clothing outside a building with a confirmed case in Beijing, China, on Friday. On Sunday, cases were 4,307 cases. Photo by Wu Hao/EPA-EFE
Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Mainland China is reporting record COVID-19 cases, including nearly 40,000 Sunday, nearly three years after the virus originated with world far now below the highest levels since the pandemic.
After the outbreak, the nation largely controlled the virus with a "zero tolerance" policy with restrictions, including quarantines.
Amid the spike, protests have erupted throughout the nation of 1.5 billion people, which is 19% of the world's poulation.
Globally in the past week, infections decreased 3% to 2,664,541, or 380,649 daily, for a cumulative 646,156,013, according to Worldometers.info. Deaths decreased 19% to 8,016, or 1,145, the lowest since 1,075 March 21, 2020, 10 days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The cumulative is 6,636,238 Sunday.
On Sunday, 423 deaths and 258,461 cases were reported.
Some nations do not report data on weekends. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has gone to weekly updates.
The records were 3,847,002 cases on Jan. 21, during the height of the Omicron subvariant, and 16,885 deaths on Jan. 21, 2021, when the Delta subvariant was at its peak.
On Sunday, China reported 39,791 cases, breaking the record for the fourth day in the row after 31,444 Thursday, 32,943 Friday and 35,183 Saturday. Thursday's total was the most since the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
Last Sunday, the total was 24,215.
On that date China reported its first death from COVID-19, the first in six months.
The death toll has reached 5,233, up six in one week, including one more Sunday. Before a spike in April, that necessitated a lockdown, it was 4,636, which stayed at that number since early February 2021.
The number of confirmed cases was 3,709. It was 5,659 on April 29. Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.
The situation in China is worsening despite a "zero tolerance," including lockdowns. But in the past few months the restrictions have been eased, including limiting its contact tracing and eliminating requiring people stuck at home for weeks just because they lived in a neighborhood where a case had been detected.
People entering China will now be required to quarantine in a hotel for five days followed by three days of isolation at home, instead of the previous 10 days in quarantine, with seven in a hotel or government facility.
Protests have hit Shanghai, the nation's financial hub, a city of 25 million under lockdown for two months earlier this year. On Saturday night, they gathered at Wulumuqi Road for a candlelight vigil that turned into a protest in the early hours of Sunday.
Police tried to break up a crowd that shouted "Down with the Chinese Communist Party, down with Xi Jinping,"according to witnesses and videos.
About 700 miles away, protests also took place in the capital Beijing, which has avoided a lockdown.
On Sunday, several hundred residents took to the streets of the central city of Wuhan, where the Covid pandemic began, according to other videos posted on social media.
On Saturday, Chinese authorities said they would ease a monthslong Covid lockdown in the western region of Xinjiang "in stages" at "low-risk" neighborhoods. The region has closed to 4 million people,
A fire at an apartment block in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, killed 10 people and injured nine Thursday. COVID restrictions may have hampered escape and rescue efforts. Many of the 4 million residents have been under lockdowns.
In central China, Apple's main iPhone production plant which in Zhengzhou, the capital of the central province of Henan, has been affected by the outbreak and protest. The Foxconn factory a\mounts to 10% of global iPhone production capacity.
There are about 200,000 workers at the plant.
Protests broke out last week when the newly hired staff said management had reneged on their promises.
"Every week of this shutdown and unrest we estimate is costing Apple roughly $1 billion a week in lost iPhone sales. Now roughly 5% of iPhone 14 sales are likely off the table due to these brutal shutdowns in China," Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told CNN Business.
In the southern city of Guangzhou, the crowd shouted: "We don't want lockdowns, we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom!"
China's vaccination rate is 92% with at least once dose but just 40 percent of Chinese older than 80 have received the extra shot. Initially they were offered to only adults 19 to 60.
Unlike the rest of tjhe world, Chinese residents are limited to domestic vaccine makers.
"China should approve the BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for the general Chinese population as soon as possible," said Jin Dong-yan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, told The Washington Post. "It's ridiculous that they only allowed foreigners in China to receive the BioNTech vaccine. It is as if they think Chinese people are inferior to foreigners."
Hong Kong, like China, has adopted a "zero tolerance" for coronavirus with strong restrictions eased, including hotel quarantine for arrivals from other nations.
Hong Kong reported nine deaths and 8,874 cases Sunday with the record 79,876 on March 3.
On Sunday, online bookings opened for the for Pfizer BioNTech's second-generation vaccine that targets the Omicron variant.
In the past week, Asia reported 50.9% of the world's confirmed cases and it rose 7% for a cumulative 198,619,982, according to Worldometers.info. The continent has 59% percent of the world's population.
Also increasing: South America 34% for 65,017,123
Decreases were North America 38% for 119,018,990, Europe 9% for a world-high 237,813,062, Africa 6% for 12,704,603, Oceania 20% for 12,981,532.
Three continents reported increases in deaths: Africa 193% for 258,073, South America 68% for 1,335,463, Asia 9% for 1,497,098,
Decreasing were North America 48% for 1,563,299, Europe 26% for a world-high 1,960,083, Oceania 18% for 22,207.
Japan, Brazil, Hong Kong, Peru, China reported increases in both deaths and cases in the past week.
Japan posted the most weekly cases, 678,018 in a 16% increase and was third in deaths at 877, a 36% gain.
South Korea's 377,734 infections were second in the world, with a 3% rise, and deaths were 340, a 9% increase in ninth.
The only other cases' increase among nations with at least 25,000: France 30% at 304,989 in third, Brazil 39% at 145,348 in seventh, Hong Kong 16% at 57,117 in 10th, Russia 4% at 37,834 in 12th, Peru 109% at 35,259 in 13th, Austria 10% at 29,270 in 15th.
Decreases in the past week in descending order were Germany 2% in fourth at 167,759, United States 39% in fifth at 167,025, Italy 27% in sixth at 161,454, Taiwan 18% in eighth at 107,637, Australia 2% in ninth at 75,796, Indonesia 8% in 11th at 42,898, Chile 14% in 14th at 33,684.
Among nations reporting more than 100 deaths with increases in the past week: Brazil 113% in fourth at 551, Indonesia 5% in 11th at 293, Chile 5% in 13th at 192, Australia 5% in 14th at 115, Peru 100% in 15th at 112, Philippines 20% on 16th at 103.
Decreases were United States 47% at No. 1 1,223, Germany 14% at No. 2 882, Italy 22% at No. 5 419, Britain 38% at No. 6 415, France 23% at No. 7 401, Russia 9% at No. 8 394, South Korea 9% at No. 9 340, Taiwan 25% at No. 10 303, Spain 20% at No. 12 223, Canada 72% at No. 17 100.
The United States leads with 1,104,755 fatalities and 100,465,087 infections. The nation also holds the world record for daily cases at 906,802 on Jan. 7. Brazil is second in deaths at 689,560, including 15 Sunday, and fifth in cases at 35,212,035 inculding 5,667 most recently.
India is second in cases at 44,669,015, including 343 Sunday, the lowest since 146 March 30, 2020, and third in deaths at 530,612 including four most recently. Zero the last time was 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, Russia is fourth with 391,840 including 51 Sunday, Mexico is fifth with 330,495 and no weekend data, Peru sixth with 217,353 including 14 Saturday, Britain seventh with 196,821, Italy eighth with 181,098, Indonesia ninth with 159,767 including 35 Sunday and France 10th with 158,639.
In the top 10 for cases, France is third with 37,639,624 including 37,675 Sunday, Germany fourth with 36,373,164, South Korea sixth with 26,937,516 including 48,028 Sunday, Japan seventh with 24,372,081 including a world-high 125,327 Sunday, Italy eighth with 24,260,660, Britain ninth with 24,000,101, Russia 10th with 21,568,846 including 6,088 Sunday.
On Wednesday, Japan reported 133,361 cases, the most since 134,743 Sept. 8. And deaths Sunday were 142 after 160 Wednesday, the most since 170 Sept. 16.
Japan's seven-day moving case average is 96,860 compared with 26,325 Oct. 12 and under 20,000 in early July with the daily record 255,316 Aug. 18.
Despite the surge, Japan's government is planning to extend its nationwide travel discount program through the New Year period after it was originally set to end in late December.
Throughout the pandemic Japan has had a low deaths rate.
Japan has 392 deaths per million, which is 143rd in the nation, with the world at 851.4 and Peru No. 1 at 6,453. In cases, Japan's rate is 194,853 per million in 87th place with the world 82,884 and Austria the highest among large countries at 611,480 with France 573,910, Portugal 546,544 and Denmark 539,071. Japan's population is 125 million.
One week after passing 30,000 deaths, South Korea reported 39 fatalities Sunday.
South Korea's seven-day cases average is 53,962 but it reached 404,626 on March 19, when the daily record was 621,328 on March 17.
On Sunday it was the first time in six days that the daily cases have fallen below 50,000 with 72,873 Tuesday.
Cases also have been spiking in France with 64,722 Tuesday and 48,331 Saturday, the third most in the world behind Japan and South Korea for confirmed cases.
Along with flu and bronchitis, doctors, hospitals and pharmacies are being "hit hard," according to a report by The Connexion.
In the United States, the CDC has classified 3.7% of counties, districts and territories with a "high" category transmission level, compared with 18.37% "medium" and 77.94% "low." In "high" locations, masks are urged indoors mainly in scattered places in the Plains and Rockies.
The CDC reported 305,082 cases. Five weeks ago it was 261,423, the lowest since 227,179 April 13. The record was 5,603,140 Jan. 19.
And the deaths average was 2,644, one week after 2,266, the lowest since 2,045 June 22 and the record 23,372 Jan. 13, 2021.
The predominant Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 represented 29.4% of the total cases in the week ending Saturday with BQ,1 at 27.9% and BA.5, which dominated since the early summer, dropped to 19.4%. Omicron overall totals 100%.
A new sub-variant, XBB, has grown to 3.1% of new infections in the United States with the strain responsible for surges in South Asian.
Earlier this month, the CDC estimated XBB is potentially doubling in proportion about every 12 days, which is faster than the current pace of the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1.
In its weekly report Thursday, the CDC said the U.S. adult one-shot vaccination rate was 91.7% with completed primary service at 78.6% and updated booster doses 13.9%. The full population rates are 80.7% for one shot, 68.8% for completed primary and 12.1% updated booster 5 and older.
The U.S. total reported Sunday 29,450 were hospitalized, which is far below the record 160,113 (20.6%) on Jan. 20, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In his final press briefing Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci urged people to get their updated COVID-19 booster and annual flu shot.
"If you look at the striking data, it overwhelmingly shows the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing severe illness and deaths," Fauci, 81, said in the briefing with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.
"We know it's safe. We know that it is effective. My message, and maybe the final message that I give you from this podium is that please for your own safety, for that of your family get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you're eligible."
Fauci had a four-decade career as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He also was President Joe Biden's medical adviser.