WHO reports “substantial decline” in COVID-19 cases globally
GENEVA – Though novel coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers continue to surge in Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there has been a “substantial decline” in weekly cases for the first time in more than two months.
The WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update released on Tuesday that nearly four million new cases were reported globally in the week between September 6 and 12.
“All regions reported declines in new cases as compared to the previous week,” the WHO report said.
“The number of deaths reported globally in the past week also decreased as compared to the previous week, with just over 62 000 new deaths.”
The WHO said the number of weekly deaths in the Americas region dropped by nine per cent in contrast to Africa, where the number of weekly deaths fell by seven per cent, South-East Asia, where the largest decrease of 20 per cent was reported and six per cent for Eastern Mediterranean countries.
The global public health agency said numbers of deaths reported in Europe and the Western Pacific were similar to last week.
“The region of the Americas reported the largest proportional decrease in cases and the second largest proportional decrease in deaths this week, decreases of 17 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, as compared to the previous week,” the report said.
“However, the Region also reported the highest number of weekly cases and deaths as compared to other regions, with notable increases observed in Cuba (22 per cent increase) and Ecuador (72 per cent increase) for cases, and Honduras (55 per cent increase) and Haiti (50 per cent increase) for deaths.”
The report stated that the United States led the Americas with highest numbers of new cases reported (1 034 836 new cases, 312.6 new cases per 100 000, a 20 per cent decrease), accounting for 70 per cent of all new cases reported in the region this past week, and the highest numbers of deaths (11 371 deaths, 3.4 deaths per 100 000, a five per cent decrease).
Cumulative COVID-19 cases reported globally now stands at over 224 million and the cumulative number of deaths is just over 4.6 million.
On the impact of the viral illness on children and adolescents, WHO concluded they generally presented with milder symptoms, although infection with the variants, including Delta, required more investigation to determine if this will remain the case.
“The risk of transmission to and from children and adolescents depends on contextual factors such as the level of community transmission and the measures implemented to control the virus, host factors in the child, as well as biological factors related to the virus itself,” the WHO report said.
“However, children and adolescents of all ages become infected and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. Younger children may be less susceptible than older children and adolescents, but the precise role of children and adolescents in the overall transmission of SARS-CoV-2 still requires further investigation.”
The organisation recommended that the use of public health and social measures, including physical distancing, cleaning hands, coughing into a bent elbow or a tissue, adequate ventilation in indoor settings, and masks should be consistently and appropriately implemented for all ages in schools, especially since children under the age of 12 years are generally not yet eligible for vaccination.