Global COVID cases continue to rise as BA.5 expands

COVID-19 circumstances worldwide rose final week for the fifth week in a row, fueled by two more-transmissible Omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5, the World Well being Group (WHO) mentioned in the present day in its newest replace.

Circumstances had been up 6% final week over the week earlier than, a part of the continuing gradual however regular rise in circumstances. A lot of the rise was in three areas: the Western Pacific, Japanese Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia.

At a WHO Pan American Well being Group (PAHO) briefing in the present day, Carissa Etienne, MBBS, the group’s director, mentioned total circumstances and deaths within the area declined barely, however circumstances had been up in some subregions, particularly in Central America, which registered a 54.9% enhance final week.

To assist nations within the Americas increase the rising demand for medication, diagnostics, and private protecting tools in opposition to the backdrop of the pandemic and different well being emergencies, she introduced a three-step plan to spice up manufacturing capability. It facilities on analysis and developments, particularly for mRNA vaccines; strengthening the regulatory system; and making a regional well being expertise manufacturing roadmap.

BA.5 brought on 50% of recent circumstances

Of greater than 5.7 million circumstances reported final week, the 5 nations with essentially the most circumstances had been France, the US, Italy, Germany, and Brazil.

Within the Western Pacific, nations experiencing notable rises embrace Japan, Australia, and China. Within the Japanese Mediterranean, sizzling spots embrace Iraq and Tunisia. And in Southeast Asia, a lot of the elevated exercise was in Indonesia and India.

Deaths total held regular, however they elevated within the Japanese Mediterranean and in Southeast Asia.

Relating to Omicron subvariant unfold, over the previous 2 weeks, the proportion of BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 sequences have declined because the proportions of BA.4 and BA.5 proceed to rise. Over the identical interval, the proportion of BA.4 sequences rose from 11% to 14% and BA.5 elevated from 42% to 50%.

Thus far, 89 nations have reported BA.5 sequences.

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