The number of SARS-CoV-2 infections worldwide has increased by a quarter in the past two weeks. Today, more than half a million infections are detected daily. Asia has the highest number of new cases, but is the fastest growing in North America and Europe. The more contagious Delta variant has become the dominant coronavirus variant.
Worldwide, the highest daily infections were recorded at the end of April, with over 800,000 new infections being recorded each day. Later, the number of cases gradually decreased, and in mid-June, an average of 360,000 infections were detected per day. Since then, the infection curve has grown steadily again, according to data collected by the US Johns Hopkins University.
Where the fastest pandemic develops
In absolute numbers, the highest number of infections is currently recorded in Asia, where over 200,000 infections are detected there every day, in Europe – over 130,000, in South America – over 75,000, in North America – over 60,000, in Africa – nearly 40,000.
However, the pandemic is developing fastest in North America and Europe, where the number of infections increased by more than 87 percent in two weeks. At the same time, the number of cases in Asia increased by 32 percent and in Africa by 17 percent. In South America, the infection curve has been declining since late June.
Today, more than half a million infections are detected daily in the world.
Dominance of the Delta variant
The development of the pandemic is associated with the spread of a more contagious variant of the Delta coronavirus. According to the GISAID database, which collects global data on the genome of the coronavirus, more than 95 percent of people who recently contracted SARS-CoV-2 in Europe have contracted Delta. Worldwide, Delta is responsible for nearly 80 percent of infections.
The Delta variant, which triggered a massive epidemic wave in India in early May, now accounts for nearly all cases in Britain, Europe’s worst-hit country. According to estimates, Delta is responsible for 80 percent of new infections in France and over 74 percent in Germany. Chief Sanitary Inspector Krzysztof Saczka informed on Wednesday that Delta may account for 45-46 percent of all SARS-CoV-2 infections in Poland.
“The Delta variant is more contagious because it has a higher reproductive rate – one infected person can infect eight more. And they another eight. It is estimated that Delta spreads about 60 percent faster than the British variant,” she said in a recent interview with the Polish Press Agency. professor Agnieszka Szuster-Ciesielska from the Department of Virology and Immunology at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin.
Where are the most infections?
In Europe, the country most affected by the pandemic is the United Kingdom, where more than 45,000 new infections are diagnosed every day. In the last week, an average of 70 infections per day per 100,000 inhabitants were detected there. In the Netherlands, this indicator was 58, in Spain – 53, in France – 15, in Germany – 1.6, in Poland – 0.2.
In the world, the pandemic is also developing rapidly in Russia, Iran, Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam) and in the countries of southern (Zimbabwe, Botswana) and northern (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya) Africa.
Worldwide, 10,000 people die from COVID-19 every day, and the daily number of victims of the pandemic is growing. Most deaths of infected people, over 14,000 a day, were recorded at the end of January. Despite the increasing tide of infections, only a slight increase in deaths is visible in Europe and North America. The toll of the pandemic in Africa has increased sharply in recent weeks. The number of COVID-19 deaths in Asia is also on the rise, following a marked decline following the spring wave of disease.
According to experts, the next wave of the epidemic is the most dangerous for people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The only way to prevent the virus from circulating is to immunize a sufficient proportion of the population, but the more contagious the virus is, the more people will need to be vaccinated to stop it. For the primary form of SARS-CoV-2, the herd immunity threshold was estimated at 60-70 percent of the population, but for the Delta variant it may be around 90 percent.
13.2 percent of the world’s population has completed the full course of vaccination against COVID-19. North America and Europe have 36 percent of the population fully vaccinated, South America – less than 17 percent, Asia – less than 10 percent, Africa – 1.5 percent.
All data used in this article comes from (unless otherwise stated) from Our World in Data, which is based on its own compilations and Johns Hopkins University statistics.
Main photo source: NARONG SANGNAK / PAP / EPA