Published: 20th October 2021
India records 18 per cent fewer COVID-19 cases during festive week. But is it reason to rejoice?
The COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, released by the World Health Organisation on Tuesday, said that with just over 2.7 million new cases and over 46,000 new deaths reported globally
As India is in the middle of its festive season, a report from WHO comes as a relief. Even though were predictions of an increase in the number of cases during the festivities, India has reported an 18 per cent decrease in the new COVID-19 cases along with a 13 per cent decline in the number of deaths during the week of October 11 to 17, the WHO has said. But even then, India's numbers are the highest in South-East Asia.
The COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, released by the World Health Organisation on Tuesday, said that with just over 2.7 million new cases and over 46,000 new deaths reported during the week of October 11 to 17, the global number of new cases and deaths remained similar to that of the previous week. The current global genetic epidemiology is characterised by a predominance of Delta variant, with declining prevalence of other variants among SARS-CoV-2 sequences submitted to publicly available datasets. Given its higher transmissibility, Delta has outcompeted other variants, including other VOCs, in many countries. Important sub-regional and country-level variation, nevertheless, continues to be observed; most notably within some South American countries, where the progression of the Delta variant has been more gradual than that observed in other regions, and other variants (e.g. Gamma, Mu) still contribute a large proportion of sequence samples, the update said.
Apart from the European Region, which reported a 7 per cent increase in the number of new weekly cases when compared to the previous week, all the other regions reported declines in new weekly cases. The update said that the largest decrease in new weekly cases was reported from the African Region (18 per cent), followed by the Western Pacific Region (16 per cent).
The African Region also reported the largest decline in weekly deaths (25 per cent) followed by the South-East Asia and Eastern Mediterranean Regions with 19 per cent and 8 per cent declines, respectively. The cumulative number of confirmed cases reported globally is now over 240 million and the cumulative number of deaths is just under 4.9 million.
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from the United States of America (582,707 new cases; 11 per cent decrease), the United Kingdom (283,756 new cases; 14 per cent increase), Russia (217,322 new cases; 15 per cent increase), Turkey (213,981 new cases; similar to the number reported in the previous week) and India (114,244 new cases; 18 per cent decrease).
The update said that declining trends continued in the South-East Asia Region, with just under 215,000 new cases and over 2,900 new deaths reported, a decrease of 13 per cent and 19 per cent respectively as compared to the previous week.
All countries in the region reported a decline in new cases and deaths this week, apart from Thailand that reported a similar number of cases as compared to the previous week. While India reported the highest numbers of new cases at 114,244, they were still an 18 per cent decrease over the previous week. Thailand (72,817 new cases) and Myanmar (9202 new cases) also reported high numbers of new cases in the South-East Asia Region.
In the region, the highest numbers of new deaths were reported from India (1,535 new deaths; a 13 per cent decrease), Thailand (582 new deaths; a 14 per cent decrease), and Indonesia (301 new deaths; a 37 per cent decrease).
The regions reporting the highest weekly case incidence rates per 100,000 population were the European Region and the Region of the Americas and the same two regions reported the highest weekly incidence in deaths, of 1.9 and 1.8 per 100 000 population, respectively.
The update noted that globally, three additional countries, territories or areas reported cases with Variants of Concern in the past week. As of October 19, cases of Alpha variant have been reported from 196 countries, Beta variant from 145 countries, Gamma variant from 99 countries, and Delta variant from 193 countries across all six WHO regions.