The number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide has increased for the sixth week in a row, as vaccine experts continue to weigh reports of rare blood clot conditions in people who have received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.
Hot spots in several regions
In his weekly snapshot of COVID-19 activity, the World Health Organization (WHO) said 4 million new cases were reported last week, with deaths increasing for the third week in a row.
The five countries that reported the most cases changed last week, with India reporting the most cases, followed by Brazil, the United States, Turkey and France.
The region of the world that saw the largest increase in cases was the WHO Southeast Asia region, which includes India, followed by the Western Pacific region, which includes the Philippines, another current hot spot of COVID-19.
Countries reporting some of the biggest disease spikes in the past week are Bangladesh (67%), Argentina (46%), Turkey (43%), Japan (43%), Iran (38%) ), India (38%) and the Philippines. (27%).
In the European region, cases have stabilized after increasing for 5 consecutive weeks. Cases and deaths in Africa fell last week, although new cases rose 10% in Ethiopia from the previous week.
Vaccine Advisors Still Weigh AstraZeneca Reports
Speaking at a WHO briefing today, Rogerio Gaspar, PhD, the group’s director of regulation and prequalification, said the WHO is making progress in assessing the rare blood clot events that may be related to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, with updated findings coming tomorrow or the next day.
So far there is no clear link and for now, the benefits still far outweigh the risks, he said.
Gaspar said the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was also continuing its assessment, as was the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Today, researchers leading a trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine in children halted vaccination while regulators investigate the possible connection of a blood clot, according to the BBC, who cited Andrew Pollard, MD, with the University of Oxford.
More world titles
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today as the global economy emerges from the worst phase of the pandemic, driven by better prospects in the United States, where vaccine deployment is strong. However, he warned that recovery could be slower in some countries, including regions where vaccination is overdue.
- The Rockefeller Foundation today call for a global plan of action to facilitate the exit from the pandemic by stepping up multilateralism and using creative financing tools. He pushed immunization rates to 70% by the end of 2022, which aims to use the leverage of the IMF and the World Bank to ensure equal access to vaccines.
- Australia and New Zealand have agreed to start the “travel bubble” on April 19, which will allow people to enter and leave countries without quarantine or testing, according to Reuters.
- The global total now exceeds 132 million cases and stands at 132,119,304 cases with 2,865,677 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins online dashboard.