Geneva: The global weekly number of reported cases of COVID-19 has almost doubled in the past six weeks, and World Health Organization warned today that deaths are also increasing, though not as rapidly as cases. The reported number of new weekly deaths was 11 000 during the week of July 11 to 17, 2022.
The highest numbers of new weekly cases from July 11 to 17 were reported from the United States of America (866 479 new cases; +18%), France (757 830 new cases; -15%), Italy (718 925 new cases; +9%), Germany (602 930 new cases; -3%), and Japan (559 111 new cases; +107%). The highest numbers of new weekly deaths were reported from the United States of America (2345 new deaths; +5%), Brazil (1 751 new deaths; +7%), Italy (784 new deaths; +37%), Spain (610 new deaths; -1%), and China (576 new deaths; -17%).
India reported (127 948 new cases (9.3 new cases per 100 000; +6%) and 281 new deaths (<1 new death per 100 000; +23%) during the week.
There are many sublineages of the Omicron variant, most notably BA.5, which is the most transmissible variant detected yet. Among Omicron sequences, as of epidemiological week 27 (July 4 to 10, 2022), BA.2 represented 2.61%, while BA.2.12.1 represented 4.51%, BA.4 represented 10.57%, and BA.5 represented 53.59%. Comparing to the proportion of Omicron sequences collected during epidemiological weeks 26 ( June 27 to July 3), BA.2 declined from 3.84% to 2.61%, BA.2.12.1 declined from 10.59% to 4.51%, BA.4 declined from 13.21% to 10.57% while BA.5 increased from 51.84% to 53.59%. Based on the data downloaded from GISAID on July 18, 2022, BA.5 has been reported in 100 countries and continues to drive an increase in cases, hospitalisations and ICU admissions.
Relative proportions of SARS-CoV-2 sequences over the last four weeks by specimen collection date
“We know that for any future variant to become widespread, it must be more transmissible than previous variants. But we can’t know how deadly it will be,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters here today.
Several subvariants of Omicron have emerged and some of these are being monitored by WHO. BA.2.75 is an Omicron subvariant under monitoring, with earliest sequences reported from May 2022. BA.2.75 has nine additional
mutations in the spike compared to BA.2. There is no evidence yet of the extent to which these mutations impact on
transmissibility and disease severity compared to other circulating lineages. As of 18 July, 250 sequences of BA.2.75
from 15 countries have been reported on GISAID.
Dr Ghebreyesus warned: “Countries that have dismantled some parts of their pandemic response systems are taking a huge risk. We have said consistently that this virus will continue to evolve, and we must be ready for whatever it throws at us. That could be a new version of the variants we already know, or something completely new.”
– global bihari bureau