COVID cases up almost 18% worldwide as omicron spreads

While vaccinations have greatly cut down on hospitalizations and deaths, COVID cases are on the rise again around the world.

More than 4.1 million cases were reported globally last week, up 18%, according to the World Health Organization.

“This pandemic is changing, but it’s not over,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference Wednesday.

His concern, he said, is that countries have gotten lax on tracking cases and transmission, even as the most vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly and healthcare workers, remain unvaccinated.

More than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the world, officials said, but in poor countries, the average immunization rate is only about 13%.

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“If rich countries are vaccinating children from as young as 6 months old and planning to do further rounds of vaccination, it is incomprehensible to suggest that lower-income countries should not vaccinate and boost their most at risk (people),” Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

Cases in the U.S. are slightly up, with a rolling 7-day daily average of 108,505 new cases as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New York, trends are the same, even after Mayor Adams dropped the city’s COVID alert level to “medium” last week.

“Day after day, New Yorkers are stepping up and doing their part, and because of our collective efforts we are winning the fight against COVID-19,” he said at the time. “We’re grateful to New Yorkers for their continued attention and vigilance as we’ve made our way through to the other side of this wave.”

Those figures, though, don’t include at-home positive test results, which the city does not track and are far more popular due to widespread availability and milder symptoms.

Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, which account for much of the global COVID spread, are less rampant in New York City, accounting for about 45% of the cases, according to NYC Health.

Health officials are still urging people to stay masked indoors, test frequently, especially after travel or large gatherings, and stay home if you feel sick.

Earlier this month, the CDC finally approved vaccinations for children between 6 months and 5 years old, now covering all but the youngest population.

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