Detected Covid-19 cases globally rose 80% last month, but the death rate fell 57%, according to figures released by the World Health Organization on Friday.
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These figures coincide with a marked increase in the spread of new variants of the virus in the middle of the northern hemisphere summer in countries such as the US, UK or France.
Agence France-Presse and Russian Satellite News Agency quoted the World Health Organization’s weekly summary as explaining that about 1.5 million cases were reported between July 10 and August 6, an increase of 80% compared to the previous 28 days.
However, the number of deaths fell by 57% to 2,500.
The World Health Organization has warned that the figures do not reflect the true situation, as diagnostic testing and monitoring of the pandemic have dropped sharply.
In the Western Pacific region, infections rose by 137% in the last month, the agency added.
Health authorities in the US, UK, France, India and Japan have also announced increases in cases, but more modestly.
The World Health Organization announced in early May that the outbreak no longer constitutes a global health emergency.
But its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned last Wednesday that “the virus continues to spread in all countries, continues to kill, and continues to change.”
Its version EG.5, nicknamed Eris by some scientists, is currently the most analyzed because of its possible involvement in regeneration.
More than 17% of reported Covid-19 cases in mid-July were caused by EG.5, up from 7.6% the previous month, according to the World Health Organization.
The EG.5 version is a subvariant of the Omicron series, which in turn is part of the XBB strains.
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It appears to spread more easily than other viruses in circulation, possibly due to the effects of new genetic mutations.
“It has been found in India, other Asian countries, North America and Europe, and tends to replace earlier dominant variants,” Antoine Flahault, director of the University of Geneva’s Institute for Global Health, told AFP.
Tedros warned that “the available evidence does not suggest that EG.5 poses additional public health risks,” but that “the risk that more dangerous variants may emerge remains.”
“A thick fog hangs over the epidemiological situation around the world. The health authorities urgently need to re-establish a reliable health surveillance system around the new coronavirus”, Antoine Flahaut, especially advocate for the analysis of European wastewater express.
“The question is whether the immunocompromised and the elderly, even with mild symptoms, will be tested so that they can benefit from early antiviral treatment,” explains Antoine Flahaut.
Vaccination remains critical, with the World Health Organization urging “increased efforts to increase vaccination coverage”.
Although vaccines against COVID-19 lose their effectiveness against infection over time, they are still considered highly protective.
In order to better adapt to virus mutations, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax pharmaceutical groups are currently preparing vaccines against the XBB series in accordance with the World Health Organization’s spring recommendations.
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In some countries, including France, vaccination campaigns targeting the most vulnerable, as well as campaigns against influenza, are planned for this fall.