The World Health Organization says the death toll from the coronavirus has risen by more than 40 percent in the past week
About 10 million new COVID-19 infections and more than 45,000 deaths were reported worldwide last week, a 23% drop from the previous week.
The reported death jump, rising to 33,000 last week, was mainly due to accounting changes; The WHO noted that countries, including Chile and the United States, have changed the way they define COVID-19 deaths.
Also, more than 4,000 deaths from the Indian state of Maharashtra, which were not initially included in the COVID-19 death toll, were added last week, according to the WHO.
The WHO has repeatedly stated that the COVID-19 case count is probably a huge understatement of the spread of the coronavirus. The agency has warned countries in recent weeks against dropping their extensive testing and other surveillance measures, saying it would cripple efforts to properly track the spread of the virus.
“Data is becoming increasingly less representative, less timely and less powerful,” the WHO said. “This hinders our combined ability to track where the virus is, how it is spreading and how it is evolving: critical information and analyzes to effectively end the acute phase of the epidemic.”
The agency warns that low surveillance will particularly hamper efforts to identify new covid forms and weaken a potential response.
Numerous countries across Europe, North America and elsewhere have recently lifted almost all of their COVID-19 protocols, relying on high levels of vaccination to prevent spikes from other infections, leading to an increase in new cases of even more contagious Omicron submarine BA.2.
British authorities said they expected to see more cases but did not see a significant increase in hospital admissions and deaths.
Despite a worldwide decline in reported cases, China locked Shanghai this week in an attempt to stem the tide of an Omicron outbreak that has caused the country’s biggest disease wave since the first virus was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019.
U.S. officials on Tuesday expanded the use of the vaccine booster because regulators said Americans 50 years of age or older could receive a second booster at least four months after their last vaccination.
An AP-NORC poll has already found that less than half of Americans now wear regular masks, avoid crowds and avoid unnecessary travel.
Follow AP coverage of the epidemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic