Cremation last week in Meissen, Germany. (Robert Michael/Image Alliance/Getty Images)

According to the WHO’s Weekly Epidemiology Update released on Tuesday, the global number of Covid-19 cases rose by 11% in the week of December 20-26 compared to the previous week.

The World Health Organization says this increase in cases is a “gradual increase from October,” when less than 5 million cases were reported. In total, more than 278 million cases had been reported by December 26.

The Americas region saw the largest increase in new cases at 39%, followed by the African region at 7%. Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and the western Pacific reported similar numbers of cases last week. Southeast Asia was down 12% from the previous week.

The United States recorded the largest number of new cases, followed by the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany.

More than 44,000 deaths last week is the number of deaths in the previous week. As of December 26, more than 5.4 million deaths have been reported worldwide.

The African region saw the highest number of new deaths, an increase of 72% from the previous week. It is followed by Southeast Asia with 9% and the United States with 7%. The number was a week ago in the Western Pacific. The mortality rate is 12% lower in the European region and 7% in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Looking at the Omicron variant, the WHO says: “The overall risk of the new Omicron variant is very high.”

It also points to consistent evidence that Omegran has a developmental advantage over delta, doubling time to two to three days, and “the incidence of disease is rapidly increasing in many countries, with fluctuations prevalent in the SARS virus. Type 2, eg UK and USA .”

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The World Health Organization reports a decline in cases in South Africa, where this variant was first discovered.

While early data reduces the risk of hospitalization, she says more data is needed to understand clinical indicators of severity and how risk may be affected by previous infections and vaccinations.

In terms of tests, the World Health Organization says preliminary data indicates that Omigron has no effect on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen-based rapid antigen tests. Corticosteroids and interleukin-6 inhibitors are expected to be effective in treatment, but monoclonal antibodies are unlikely to neutralize the omegran.