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Covid deaths jump by 40%, alerts WHO. Read full report here

More than 10 million new cases and over 45 000 new deaths were reported across six WHO region. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
More than 10 million new cases and over 45 000 new deaths were reported across six WHO region. (Photo: Reuters)

  • In its latest weekly report, WHO highlighted that during the week of 21 through 27 March 2022, the number of new cases declined again with a 14% decrease as compared to the previous week. On the other hand, during the same period, the number of new weekly deaths has increased by 43%.

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The number of deaths as a cause of Coronavirus increased by 43% last week due to changes in the definition of COVID-19 deaths in some countries in the Region of the Americas and by retrospective adjustments reported from India in the South-East Asia Region, as per World Health Organization (WHO) report.

In its latest weekly report, WHO highlighted that during the week of 21 through 27 March 2022, the number of new cases declined again with a 14% decrease as compared to the previous week. On the other hand, during the same period, the number of new weekly deaths has increased by 43%, driven by changes in the definition of COVID-19 deaths in countries in the Region of the Americas (Chile and the United States of America) and retrospective adjustments reported from India in the South-East Asia Region.

Furthermore, more than 10 million new cases and over 45 000 new deaths were reported across six WHO regions.

The UN-led WHO stated in its weekly epidemiological update, that "all regions reported decreasing trends in the number of new weekly cases and four regions reported a decreasing trend in new weekly deaths.

As of March 27, 2022, more than 479 million confirmed cases and over 6 million deaths have been reported globally, the report stated further.

Meanwhile, the WHO report highlighted that between January-end and early March 2022, there was a consistent decreasing trend in the number of new COVID-19 cases, which was followed by two consecutive weeks of increase in cases.

On country-level, the highest number of new weekly cases were reported from the Republic of Korea (2 442 195 new cases; -13%), Germany (1 576 261 new cases; +2%), Viet Nam (1 127 716 new cases; -40%), France (845 119 new cases; +45%), and Italy (503 932 new cases; +6%).

Moreover, the highest number of new weekly deaths were reported from Chile (11 858 new deaths; +1710%), the United States of America (5 367 new deaths; +83%), India (4 525 new deaths; +619%), the Russian Federation (2 859 new deaths; -22%), and the Republic of Korea (2 471 new deaths; +22%

WHO warned saying that the trends reported "should be interpreted with caution as several countries are progressively changing their COVID-19 testing strategies, resulting in lower overall numbers of tests performed and consequently lower numbers of cases detected."

"Despite a generalized decline in the rate of SARS-CoV-2 testing observed across the six WHO regions, the number of new weekly cases increased again in early to mid-March, indicating that the virus is currently circulating at very high levels," the weekly report pointed out.

WHO expressed concerns about the recent significant reduction in SARS-CoV-2 testing by the several Member States. It said, "data are becoming progressively less representative, less timely, and less robust. This inhibits our collective ability to track where the virus is, how it is spreading and how it is evolving: information and analyses that remain critical to effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic."

As per WHO, decreases in testing, unless done judiciously as part of a strategy aimed at maintaining robust surveillance where it is most impactful, may affect the capacity of countries to identify cases and enable their timely treatment or isolation, and implement other necessary control measures, with the consequent risk of increased spread of SARS-CoV-2.

"This may translate in an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, and significant strains on healthcare systems, particularly in areas where public health and social measures have been lifted and where vaccination coverage against COVID-19 is low. Furthermore, reduced testing impacts the capacity of countries to detect emerging variants early, ultimately impairing response efforts," WHO said.

WHO explained that COVID-19 remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and it is too early to reduce the quality of surveillance. The uncertainty around the characteristics of emerging variants limits our ability to confidently predict the behavior of this disease, as the evolution rate and risk of emerging variants are still high, which could undermine prevention and mitigation measures.

"Until we reach the end of the acute phase of the pandemic, countries must maintain sufficient epidemiologic surveillance to inform evidence-based operational decision-making on crucial parameters, including vaccination strategies, vaccine composition, use of therapeutics, and tailored and appropriate public health and social measures," WHO's weekly report said.

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