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Europe only continent with weekly rise of COVID-19 deaths at 3%

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Sept. 12 (UPI) — Europe reported a 3% weekly increase in COVID-19 deaths, fueled by a spike in Great Britain, with all other continents recording fewer fatalities than the week before.

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Overall deaths worldwide declined 9% to 60,051 with the total toll so far Sunday at 4,641,812, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. Cases globally declined 11% in one week with the total 225,307,666 with every continent reporting declines.

In Europe cases declined 2% with the cumulative a world-high 56,805,228. But the weekly total of 856,335 was third behind No. 1 Asia with 1,509,635 and No. 2 North America at 1,181,106 but ahead of South America with 171,279, Africa with 135,796 and Oceania with 14,015.

Though Europe was the only continent to post an increase in deaths, its total of 10,565 also was third — behind No. 1 Asia with 24,109 and No. 2 North America with 15,998 as South America was fourth with 5,306, Africa fifth with 4,745 and Oceania with 151.

The United States remains the world leader in deaths at 677,754 with a 6% drop in one week and cases at 41,816,668 with a 11% decline from seven days ago. Its 9,167 deaths and 943,176 cases in the past week were the most in the world, according to Worldometers.info. On Saturday, the United States reported 719 deaths and 72,203 cases though most states don’t report data on weekends.

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Europe, however, leads in the vaccination effort with 102 doses administered per 100 people, followed by North America at 98, South America at 90, Asia at 81, Oceania at 65 and Africa at 8.7, according to tracking by The New York Times. Most vaccines require two shots with boosters also occurring.

Worldwide, vaccination doses grew by 230 million in one week to 5.69 billion with the world’s population of 7.9 billion, according to tracking by Bloomberg.

In the European Union, 66.1% of the population has been given at least one dose, including 79.9% in Spain, 76.1% in France, 72.3% in Italy, 66.6% in Germany. Also in Europe, it’s 72.5% in Britain, 51.4% in Poland, 31.0% in Russia and 25.4% in Ukraine.

Europe has three nations in the top 10 for deaths. Russia is sixth with 192,749, Britain eighth with 134,200, Italy ninth with 129,919. Also, France is 11th with 115,488, Germany 14th with 93,121, Spain 15th with 85,290, Poland 17th with 75,425 and Ukraine 19th with 54,342.

In the past week, deaths have surged in Britain: by 25% to 983. Also spiking were Ukraine at 26% by 269 and Poland by 18% to 46. In cases, Britain rose 6% with 256,910, Ukraine 18,268 by 32% and Poland 3,012 by 41%.

On Sunday, Britain reported 56 deaths and 29,173 cases. On Tuesday, the kingdom gained 209 deaths, which were the most since 231 on March 9 with the record 1,824 on Jan. 20. The infections weekly high was 40,748 Monday, slightly below 41,469 on Sept. 3 and much lower than the record 67,775 on Jan. 8.

Though facing a new wave of the pandemic in the winter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans Tuesday to unveil a blueprint in England to prevent going into a full lockdown, including shutting schools and pubs again. Most of the restrictions were lifted on July 19.

And powers expected to be repealed under the Coronavirus Act include those allowing the closing down of the economy, imposing of restrictions on events and gatherings, the power to temporarily close or restrict access to schools and detaining infectious people.

“These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures,” Johnson said. But I’m determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need because of our vaccine defenses.”

He reportedly plans to roll out plans for booster shots but had scrapped plans for vaccine passports.

The 27-nation European Union launched the vaccine certificate, which allows for free movement of travelers between its countries though each nation can implement restrictions.

People who have been fully vaccinated can visit England without needing to quarantine.

The EU has recommended removing the United States from its “safe travel” list, meaning American travelers would face restrictions that include quarantine and testing. It is up to each nation to implement the change. Israel also was added to the list.

The United States continues to have a travel ban for European travelers since one year ago March with a quarantine, including being fully vaccinated.

Coronavirus remains at a high level in Russia, which reported 788 deaths Sunday after a record 820 on Aug. 26 with 819 on Aug. 14. Cases were 18,554 compared with the record 29,935 in December. In the past week, the increase in deaths was virtually unchanged and cases declined 2%.

Russia had the most deaths in Europe last week: 5,554, also second behind the United States.

Also most recently: Italy 34, France 46 (Saturday), Germany 3, Ukraine 22 and Poland none. Spain doesn’t release data on the weekend.

On Friday, Denmark became the first nation to lift all remaining restrictions, including requiring vaccination passes to end restaurants, sports centers or nightclubs.

“The vaccines and the great efforts of all of Denmark’s citizens over such a long period are the foundation for why we are going strong,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote on Twitter last week.

Denmark has vaccinated 76.3% of its population with at least one dose. And its 2,611 deaths rank 90 with none reported Sunday. Cases were 352,373, including 434 Sunday.

In Asia, cases have reached a world-high 72,732,393 and deaths are 1,076,856, which is third behind Europe and South America but ahead of North America. Deaths decreased 10% and infections 11%.

India with the second largest population in the world at 1.4 billion, is runner-up in cases with 33,236,921, including 28,591 Sunday and third in deaths at 442,655 with 338.

Although India is a prime manufacturer of vaccines, the nation has only vaccinated 40.4% of its population with at least one dose and 12.5% fully.

Indian officials aim to fully inoculate its entire adult population of more than 900 million people by December.

The highly contagious Delta variant was first detected in India last October and has become the dominant strain worldwide.

India is better prepared to stop new waves, according to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization.

“I think the preparations at health system level have really increased, particularly with respect to oxygen and critical care facilities,” Swaminathan told CNBC last week.

“What is needed also is to ramp up the health workforce because it’s not enough to just have the equipment and the materials and the drugs. We also need trained nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, critical care technicians and others.”

The records are 4,529 deaths and 414,188 cases.

Indonesia is in seventh place worldwide with 138,889, including 188 Sunday. And daily cases were 3,779 and 13th overall. Fatalities are down 21% and cases dropped 30%. Its daily records were 56,757 cases and 2,069, both in July.

Indonesia’s vaccination rate is 26.7% for one dose.

Iran moved past Argentina at 12th with 114,311 fatalities, rising 487 after a record 709 Aug. 24 with a 10% weekly drop. And cases decreased 17% in the past week. The nation reported 20,219 cases Sunday with the record 50,228 Aug. 17.

Iran’s vaccination rate is 23.4% for one dose.

In Japan, where the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics ended one Sunday ago, cases continue to remain higher than earlier in the pandemic. On Sunday, infections grew by 7,212 for a total of 1,641,688 with a record 25,492 four weeks ago.

Until late July, cases hadn’t gone above 10,000 in one day. Before then, the record was 7,855 on Jan. 9.

Deaths increased 41 to 16,818 in 38th place. Fatalities increased by 12% but cases dropped 36% in one week.

Despite the surge, Japan’s cases percentage is lower than elsewhere.

Japan has 12,952 infections per million and 133 deaths per million. Worldwide, it’s 28,897 cases per million and 595.4 per million. The United States’ figures are 2,033 fatalities per million and 125,455 infecitons per million.

But Japan is lagging in vaccinations with 62.4% of the population getting at least one dose but it has reached 50% for fully vaccinated, according to tracking by Bloomberg.

The state of emergency, including a soft lockdown, already was extended in Tokyo and 21 of the 47 prefectures from Sunday until the end of this month.

“We have to prepare for new waves of infection but at the same time go forward with social and economic activities while living with the coronavirus,” he said Thursday in a news conference, his first since announcing last week his intention to resign, amid mounting criticism of his government’s handling of the pandemic.

The pandemic began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 76th at 4,636 behind Lithuania with 4,688. China added 46 cases Sunday.

But Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in Fujian province south of Shanghai city, is attempting to contain a coronavirus outbreak. Bus and train service has been suspended, and cinemas, bars and other businesses are closed.

China administered more than 2.1 billion doses, the most in the world and dwarfing India with nearly 743 million and the United States with more than 378 million, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University.

In Putian, 19 new infections that were believed to have been acquired locally were reported in the 24 hours through midnight Saturday, according to the National Health Commission.

Public venues and businesses were closed, and public transportation was suspended.

South Korea’s social distancing restrictions have been extended to Oct. 3 with a Thanksgiving holiday later this month.

The nation has 2,359 deaths, including one more Sunday, and a rise of 1,755 cases after 2,047 on Thursday at a record 2,219 Aug. 11.

President Moon Jae-in’s office said once 80% of adults have received both doses, including 90% of people aged over 60, restrictions on daily life could be eased.

South Korea’s rate is just 45% for fully vaccinated among adults.

Among the total population it is 63.4% with at least one shot.

Turkey is seventh in the world for cases at 6,636,899, including 22,923 Saturday and 18th in deaths at 59,643, including 259 most recently.

Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has a death toll of 7,358 with none reported Sunday, and 769 cases most recently with the record 20,523 Sept. 1. Until late last month, Israel only twice exceeded 10,000. The nation has vaccinated 66.7% of its population with at least one dose.

Despite the good vaccination rate, Israel has one of the world’s highest infection rates: 125,372 per million people.

Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health at the Health Ministry, told Channel 12 news the vast majority of those in serious conditions at hospitals are unvaccinated and under 60.

“If you look at the difficult and critical patients, you definitely see a slowdown [in the rates] and that’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Alroy-Preis said in the interview.

Israel has been administering booster shots with a fourth one planned.

In North America, the death toll was 1,027,292 with a decline of 4% and cases were down 15% to 50,239,056.

In North America, Mexico is fourth in the world in deaths with 267,524 with a 9% weekly decline and 675 Saturday and 1,071 Wednesday. The nation’s cases declined 5% with 12,511 most recently for 15th at 3,506,743.

Deaths are way down in Mexico from a one-day record of 1,803. The cases record of 28,953 was set Aug. 19.

Canada ranks 26th worldwide in deaths with 27,189 including 19 Saturday, and 28th in cases with 1,540,317, including 2,224 most recently. Canada’s deaths record is 257 on Dec. 29 and the cases mark is 11,383 on Jan. 3.

Canada’s deaths rose 24% over seven days but only 161 were reported.

Canada’s rates per million: 713 for deaths and 40,389 for cases.

Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 74.7%. Mexico’s percentage is 47.2%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people.

In South America, there have been 1,140,500 deaths, decreasing 24% and 37,236,028 cases, going down 23%.

In South America, three nations are in the top 10 for deaths. Besides Mexico, Peru is fifth at 198,728 and Colombia 10th at 125,592. Argentina is 12th with 113,356 deaths and Chile 20th with 37,232.

Over one week Brazil’s fatalities have dropped 25% with 667 Saturday and infections also 25% with 14,314 most recently.

On Saturday, Colombia reported 63 deaths, Argentina added 67, Peru gained 74. Chile added 31 Sunday.

“Now the situation has cooled across South America,” said Carla Domingues, an epidemiologist who ran Brazil’s immunization program until 2019, told The New York Times. “It’s a phenomenon we don’t know how to explain.”

No new sweeping or large-scale containment measures have been put in place on the continent.

Chile has the highest vaccination rate on the continent at 75.7% with Brazil 67.3%, Argentina 63.8%, Colombia at 48.4% and Peru 36.7%. The Lambda variant was first detected in Peru in August 2020.

“We’ve managed to delay major circulation of the Delta variant and move forward with the biggest vaccination campaign in our history,” Carla Vizzotti, Argentina’s health minister, said.

In Africa, deaths dropped 24% for the week with the total 203,063 and cases were down 22% at 81,107,760.

The World Health Organization reported this is the biggest decline in two months.

“While COVID-19 cases have declined appreciably, the downward trend is frustratingly slow due to the lingering effects of the more infectious Delta variant,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a news release. “We are spearheading critical work and supporting countries in scaling up pathogen surveillance through genome sequencing to detect and respond effectively to COVID-19 variants.”

South Africa is in 16th place with 84,751 deaths, including 143 Saturday. And cases rose 5,309 most recently.

Tunisia has the second most deaths with 24,751 ahead of Egypt with 16,860.

South Africa has vaccinated just 18.1% of its population with at least one shot.

Africa has 16.72% of the world’s population but its share of vaccinations is 2%.

Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 2,409 deaths with a decrease of 10%, or 151 in one week, and cases are 186,248, up 14,015 with an increase of 12%.

New Zealand’s deaths increased by one to 27 on Saturday after one the previous week, the first reported since Feb. 16. Australia’s toll increased to 1,091, with seven reported Sunday and 48 in a week.

New Zealand reported 23 cases Sunday and Australia was up 1,655, one day after a record 2,043.

New South Wales remains under lockdown. Police and military personnel in Sydney have been issuing fines to those contravening health orders, such as wearing masks.

Restrictions will be lifted for fully-vaccinated people in New South Wales once 70% of the nation 16 and older reaches that status, which is projected in late October.

Currently, it is 78.48% for one dose and 46.17 for both, according to data compiled by The Guardian.

Victoria, which includes Melbourne, has been in lockdown since June 26.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has said lockdown restrictions in Melbourne will not be eased minimally until 70% of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose. That target date is Sept. 23 but full vaccination is not projected until the end of December.

Victoria is 66.22% for one shot and 40.76% for both.

Overall, Australia’s rate is 53.9% of the population with at least one dose. New Zealand is at 56.5%.

Fiji, with a 63.3% vaccinated rate, has 535 deaths, a rise of 27 in the past week with none Sunday, and four by May 3. Cases have climbed from 121 on May 3 to 48,986, including 128 most recently. Fiji has 903,457 residents.

Guam, a territory of the United States with fewer than 200,000 residents, has 159 deaths and 11,199 cases, including 67 Saturday. Guam is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest travel risk level of 4 along with the U.S. Virginia Islands with 65 deaths and 6,250 cases. Countries include Brazil, Britain, France, Iran, Israel, South Africa.

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