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Omicron-driven surge from Jan. 13 to Jan. 19

Record high: World averaged 3M new COVID cases daily

/ 05:22 AM January 21, 2022
Bhutan reports first cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

PARIS—The world registered a record-high average of more than three million coronavirus cases a day between Jan. 13 and 19, fueled by the Omicron variant, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) tally showed on Thursday.

The figure has increased more than five-fold since the highly transmissible variant was detected in South Africa and Botswana in late November 2021.

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An average of 3,095,971 daily cases were reported over the past seven days, an increase of 17 percent compared with the previous week.

Before Omicron emerged, the previous record for average global daily infections was around 800,000 in late April 2021.

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Current infection levels are around 440 percent higher than the daily average for the week ending November 24, 2021, when South Africa reported Omicron to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The world recorded an average of 7,522 COVID-related deaths a day between January 13 and 19, an 11-percent rise on the previous week although Omicron has so far seemed to cause less serious illness than the previously dominant Delta variant.

300% hike in UK

In Britain, new COVID cases skyrocketed by more than 300 percent between late November and early January, but the number of patients requiring ventilation did not increase in that time.

The figures are based on official statistics produced by national health authorities and compiled by AFP.

A significant proportion of less severe or asymptomatic cases go undetected despite intensified testing regimes since the beginning of the pandemic.

Testing policies also vary from one country to another.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to COVID-19, the WHO estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.

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