Omicron variant, Delta and infections: the situation in Europe and in the world

WHO: “Cases stable in the world, 70% new weekly infections in Europe”

Omicron variant, Delta and Covid infections in the world: the weekly bulletin of the World Health Organization, released today, takes stock. Globally, the incidence of Covid infections has stabilized in the last week, with almost 3.8 million new cases confirmed between 22 and 28 November, a figure similar to that of the previous week. But Europe continues to grow and in the last 7 days it is in this region that 70% of the total weekly infections reported in the world have been recorded.: over 2.6 million, up 7% on the previous week. The figure for Africa stands out, not for the absolute numbers that indicate 43,730 cases recorded in the last week (equal to 1% of the world total), but for the change compared to the previous week: the increase in new infections was 93%.

The spotlight is on the African region, from which the first report of the new variant of concern of Sars-CoV-2, namely Omicron, originated. But the increase in new cases registered in the region, points out the UN health agency, “it should be noted that it was largely due to South Africa’s reporting of antigen test batches last week, so the trends go interpret with caution “. Cases are on the rise in 3 of the 6 WHO regions. The western Pacific region (+ 24%) is also growing in the number of infections this week, while the Americas and Southeast Asia regions recorded decreases of 24% and 11% respectively in the incidence in the last 7 days.

The number of Covid deaths worldwide has decreased by 10% in the last 7 days: over 47,500 new deaths were reported, and an increase was reported in 2 of the 6 regions (+ 26% in Southeast Asia and + 7% in Africa). Europe, on the other hand, marks a slight decline in deaths: -2%, for a total of 29,096 deaths, representing 61% of the total number recorded in the world. Weekly deaths fell 36% in the Americas and 8% in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the counter has now risen dramatically and, as of 28 November, there have been over 260 million confirmed cases and almost 5.2 million Covid deaths in the world.

Europe continues to be among the regions that report the highest weekly incidence of Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants: they were 285.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. The Americas region follows with 64.5 new cases / 100,000 inhabitants. European region black jersey also for the highest weekly incidence of deaths: 3.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in all other regions less than one new death per 100,000 inhabitants was reported.

The highest number of new cases was reported by the United States (464,800 new cases; – 31%) in the last week monitored by the WHO, but the figure of Germany which is the second country for weekly infections stands out: 406,754 new cases ( + 22%), a number close to that of the US, but out of a very different total population (Germans are about 80 million, well over 300 million people live in the US). Third country in terms of number of new weekly cases is the United Kingdom (304,374; + 8%), followed by Russia (239,215; -8%) and France (190,402 new cases; + 62%).

VARIANTS – The current global epidemiology of Sars-CoV-2 is still characterized today by the predominance of the Delta variant, while the prevalence of other variants continues to decrease among the genomic sequences sent to publicly available databases and among the detections reported to the Organization world health. Omicron, only recently identified, is present in less than 0.1% of sequences and has been reported so far in a limited number of countries, but there is evidence of diffusion in several states in 4 out of 6 WHO regions.. This is the picture that emerges from the latest weekly bulletin of the Geneva agency, updated as of November 30th.

The Delta outperformed other variants of concern in most countries. At present, most of the identified cases of Omicron are travel-related, but this factor may change as more information is available on the new variant, the report reads. For now, of the 839,119 sequences loaded on Gisaid with samples collected in the last 60 days, 99.8% (837,253) were cases of Delta. T.All other variants of concern accounted for less than 0.1% respectively, including Omicron. In detail, we are talking about 314 sequences attributed to Gamma, 160 to Alpha, 159 to Omicron, 14 to Beta. Another share of less than 0.1% included other circulating variants (including interest variants Mu and Lambda).

Sub-regional and country-level differences continue to be observed. In particular, in some South American countries the progression of the Delta variant has been more gradual and other variants (Gamma, Lambda, Mu) still contribute to most of the reported sequences. In South Africa, the first country to intercept Omicron, there has been a recent sharp increase in the number of cases in several provinces, coinciding with the detection of the new variant.