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Friday, July 1, 2022

WHO: Rise in COVID-19 deaths, reversing 5-week decline

GENEVA ( Associated Press) – The number of deaths globally rose 4% last week, after a five-week decline in deaths from the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.

In its weekly assessment of the pandemic released on Thursday, the United Nations health agency said there were 8,700 COVID-19 deaths last week, with a 21% jump in the US and a 17% increase in the western Pacific.

Coronavirus cases continued to decline, the WHO said, with nearly 3.2 million new cases reported last week, expanding the decline in COVID-19 infections since the peak in January. Still, there were significant spikes of infections in some regions, with the Middle East and Southeast Asia reporting increases of 58% and 33%, respectively.

“Since many countries have reduced surveillance and testing, we know this number is underreported,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this week. He said there was “no acceptable level of death toll from COVID-19,” noting that the global community now has vaccines, medicines and diagnostics to stop the virus.

While many wealthy countries in Europe and North America have mostly lifted their virus restrictions, China’s extreme COVID-19 policies mean more testing, quarantining and sequencing of anyone who may have come into contact with a case.

China’s capital this week brought school back online in one of its major districts amid a new COVID-19 outbreak linked to a nightclub. Residents in Beijing are still undergoing routine testing – mostly every other day – and must wear masks and swipe mobile phone apps to enter public places and facilitate case tracing.

China has maintained its “zero-Covid” policy despite considerable economic costs and the head of the World Health Organization’s claim that the policy is not sustainable.

This week, US officials approved a move to authorize coronavirus vaccines for the youngest children, after the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisers gave Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech’s vaccines a thumbs up for children under the age of 5. Took a step forward.

Outside experts voted unanimously that the benefits of the shots outweigh any risks for children under the age of 5 – that is, about 18 million young people. They are the last age group in the US without access to COVID-19 vaccines, and many parents are concerned about the safety of their young children.

If all regulatory steps are approved, the shots should be available next week.


Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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