COVID-19's situation has significantly worsened in Taiwan after few cases and deaths at the start of the pandemic despite the outbreak emerging Mainland China 100 miles away and easing worldwide.
Taiwan, which is officially the Republic of China and a separate nation from the People's Republic of China, reported a record 44,361 cases Sunday. Taiwan, with a population of 23.6 million, has 357,271 infections though there were only 17,050 at the start of this year and 121 at the end of 2020.
Until a surge last month, the record daily cases was 543 on May 19, 2021.
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Taiwan also has a total of 919 deaths, including 12 Sunday and 11 Saturday with the record 36 on June 6, 2021.
In Mainland China, there are a total of 219,625 cases, including 329 Sunday with 5,659 10 days ago, which is the second-highest ever with the record 14,108 on Feb. 12, 2020. Deaths are 5,174, including eight Sunday for 87th behind Palestine with 5,353. From January 2021 until this March there were no deaths reported. At the end of last year, the death count was 4,636.
Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.
COVID-19 deaths are at the lowest level since the pandemic began more than two years ago with cases the fewest in five months.
Coronavirus' seven-day moving average of deaths is 1,856, the lowest since 1,680 on March 24, 2020, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. That includes 1,073 reported Saturday, the least since 1,024 March 18, 2020. The daily record was 17,011 Jan. 20, 2021, amid the Delta variant surge.
Cases' moving average dropped to 501,781, which is the lowest since 497,201 on Nov. 14 before the Omicron variant emerged. On Saturday infections were 404,843 with 306,604 May 2, the least since 292,382.The record was 3,817,944 Jan. 21.
In one week cases dropped 15% and deaths 24%.
In all, 517,134,813 cases have been reported worldwide, including 3,512,576 in the past week, for a 15% decrease on Sunday. And deaths rose by 12,998 over seven days, a 24% drop, for a cumulative 6,276,209.
The World Health Organization estimates the world death toll is about 15 million with countries undercounting data. It's based on excess deaths, which is how many more people died than would normally be expected based on mortality in the same area before the pandemic.
"It's a staggering number and it's important for us to honor the lives that are lost, and we have to hold policymakers accountable," Dr. Samira Asma, from the WHO's data department, said last week. "It's a tragedy.
"If we don't count the dead, we will miss the opportunity to be better prepared for the next time."
Infections and fatalities decreased on every continent except both categories in Africa and Oceania.
A subvariant, BA.2.12.1, along with another version of Omicron, called BA.2.12, have led to a spike but illnesses are not as severe or even as deadly.
Starting Sunday in Taiwan, digital fences designed to block down those quarantined, will be loosened, while home quarantine orders are only for those live-in relatives and friends, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced Saturday.
In China, there were 144 deaths in the past week compared with 336 deaths the week before, the most since early in the pandemic in March 2020.
China, with the world's largest population of 1.5 billion, has used the same zero-Covid strategy since the start of the pandemic.
The bulk of China's cases are in Shanghai, which has been on lockdown in most parts in April, and Beijing, toward the end of the month.
"During lockdowns, residents only consume daily necessities, so consumption will inevitably slump, not to mention that price could easily triple during city-level lockdowns," Yue Su, principal economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC. "Lack of confidence in the private sector will drag investment and employment, which will take a much longer period of time to restore even if China introduces more stimulus."
Elsewhere, deaths are up 135% in South Africa, 63% in Guatemala, 41% in New Zealand, 24% in Peru, 8% in Australia and 7% in Canada.
Cases' spikes include 205% in Taiwan, 36% in South Africa, 12% in Spain, 8% in Brazil, 7% in Portugal, 4% in the United State and 4% in Australia.
Asia had the biggest weekly decline in cases at 21% for a cumulative 148,883,535, followed by Europe at 20% for 192,878,412, South America 5% for 56,956,609, North America 0.2% for 98,901,056. Going up were Africa 17% for 11,974,607 and Ocesan 3% for 7,539,873.
In deaths, North America declined at 17% for 1,464,293, Europe at 21% for 1,825,105, Asia at 38% for 1,426,310, South America at 35% for 1,295,476 but Africa up 88% for 253,999 and Oceania up 14% for 11,011.
In all, more than 11.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, an increase of 200 million in a week with the world's population of 7.9 billion, according to Bloomberg tracking.
Broken down by world regions, the United States and Canada have administered at least one dose to 79% of the population, ahead of Latin America and Asia-Pacific at 78%, Europe at 69%, Middle East 56% and Africa at 21%, according to The New York Times tracking. None of these percentages changed in the past week.
Hong Kong reported 286 cases Sunday for a total of 1,206,585 with the record 56,827 on March 10, and two fatalities for a cumulative 9,346, including a record 294 March 11. Until this year, Hong Kong, an island of 7.6 million people that has separate governing and economic systems from Communist China, had reported only 163 deaths and 243,612 cases. In 2020, it was 148 deaths and 8,847 cases.
Hong Kong has eased social distancing. On Thursday, residents were allowed to take off their masks when running or at country parks and outdoor sports venues. Also swimming pools, beaches and water playgrounds will be reopened.
On Sunday, Korea reported 4,084 cases with the record 621,328 March 17. And deaths were 71. The record was 470 on March 24 with the mark until this year 109 on Dec. 23.
South Korea reported 266,456 cases in the past week, which is sixth-most in the world, one week after the second-highest, behind Germany with 576,396 with a 35% weekly decline. Deaths were 10th in the world with 495, a 36% decline, behind No. 1 United States, No. 2 Britain. The nation is eighth in the world at 17,544,398 cases with only 630,748 reported through the end of last year.
Deaths are 23,360 in 39th.
On Monday, South Korea lifted its outdoor mask mandate, one week after allowing eating inside movie theaters, indoor gyms and religious places.
India's deaths are at pandemic lows but cases have been spiking, also after minimal levels.
On Sunday, India reported 3,805 cases for a total of 43,098,743 in second behind the United States, a gain of 23,320 in one week, which is an 8% increase. The daily record was 414,438 May 6, 2021, and the recent low was 949 April 14.
India, which has the second-highest population in the world at 1.4 billion, has a total of 542,024 deaths, including 22 Sunday. In the past week, there were 221 fatalities. Single deaths were reported last month with zero the last time March 24, 2020, with the record 6,148 last June when the Delta variant emerged there.
WHO's estimate of deaths puts India at 4.74 million directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic.
Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is ninth in deaths at 156,381, including 10 Sunday and 19th in cases at 6,048,43 with 227 Sunday. The records are 64,718 infections in February and 2,069 last July.
Iran is 11th in deaths at 141,177, gaining 12 Sunday.
In the past week, Vietnam's cases dropped 53%. The Asian nation added 2,289 cases Sunday with the record 203,036 in March. The nation is 12th overall in the world with 10,676,184.
And deaths are 43,056 in 24th with 1 more Sunday.
Turkey is 10th in cases at 15,043,379 including 1,480 Sunday but 19th in deaths at 98,846, adding nine Sunday.
Following is the rank order of some nations' vaccination rates in Asia: Mainland China 90.9%, Hong Kong 89.6%, Singapore 88.2%, South Korea 87%, Malaysia 84.3%, Vietnam 82.7%, Japan 82%, Iran 76.5%, Israel 76.5%, Indonesia 73.8%, India 72.9%, Turkey 69.2% and Philippines 67%.
Four nations are in the top 10 for deaths: Russia fourth with 376,828 including 132 Sunday; Britain seventh at 176,212 with no data on weekends; Italy eighth at 164,489 with 72 Sunday and France 10th at 146,870 with 110 Saturday.
Germany is 13th in deaths at 136,925 including 11 Sunday but fifth in cases at 25,345,095, including 7,009 Sunday.
Germany had the most cases in the world in the past week but dropped 12%.
Italy had the third-most in the past week, 303,739, dropping 21%, and is at 28,682,011 in ninth overall in the world, adding 30,804 Sunday.
France is fifth worldwide in the past week with 282,812, dropping 29%, and 37,968 Saturday for a total of 28,928,097 in fourth. The record is 501,635 Feb. 1.
Last week Britain reported the most deaths in Europe at 1,199, but a 23% decline, including 438 Thursday.
On Sunday, Russia's deaths were the least since 117 on Oct. 5, 2020, as well as 5,447 cases Sunday in seventh overall at 18,227,866.
Russia is lagging the world in vaccinations with 55.4% of its population with at least one dose of a domestic-produced vaccine, including Sputnik 5.
Two other Eastern European nations have low vaccination rates: Ukraine at 38% and Romania at 42.3%. Poland's rate is 59.9% and Czech Republic's is 65.1%.
Most nations in Europe are heavily vaccinated. In the European Union, it's 76.1%, including 87.5% in Spain, 85.1% in Italy, 84.2% in France, 83.1% in Denmark, 77.6% in Germany, 77.3% in Netherlands, 76.7% in Austria.
Most European nations have dropped their restrictions.
The United States and Mexico are in the top 10 for most deaths.
Taiwan reports 30,106 new COVID-19 cases, with 5 deaths, the highest number of cases recorded to date.— BNO|Medriva 🇹🇼 Newsroom (@medrivaTW) May 5, 2022
Two patients in their 70s had had three vaccine doses, but three others in their 20s, 50s, and 80s were unvaccinated amongst the five deaths.
The United States' deaths dropped 18% in one week but cases were up 4%. On Saturday, the United States reported 87 deaths and 31,143 cases though only nine states reported data. Totals are 1,024,526 fatalities and 83,567,707 infections. The U.S. holds the world record for daily cases at 903,333 on Jan. 7.
The CDC on Friday had 100,818 cases then 97,465 with the previous time above 100,000 at 115,931 on Feb. 22, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day moving average is 68,807.
Mexico is fifth in the world in deaths at 324,350 with no data reported in the past week and the record 1,417 in late January a year ago. The nation's cases at 21st at 5,740,080.
Canada's cases decreased 24% in one week with 2,164 Saturday after 11,631 Thursday, for 31st with 3,789,517. The record was 55,359 in mid-January. Canada's deaths are up 7% in one week and the nation ranks 26th worldwide with 39,740 including 24 Saturday with the record 257 on Dec. 29, 2020.
Canada has low rates per million with deaths at 1,036 and cases at 98,808. The United States is at 3,062 deaths per million compared with the world at 805.2 and 249,769 cases per million and the world at 66,343.
High on the world list in cases per million: Iceland 538,029, Denmark 509,735, Netherlands 48,341, Austria 459,454, France 441,382 and Israel 438,600.
Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 87.1%. The United States is at 76.9% for one shot. Mexico's percentage is 67.2%.
Canada's last remaining COVID-19 emergency benefits expired Saturday. They included workers who won't be paid by the government should they need to self-isolate due to a positive test or if they had to leave work to care for a child due to sickness or pandemic-related school closures.
"From the onset of the pandemic, our relentless focus was on jobs -- on keeping Canadians employed and on keeping their employers afloat," Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's press secretary Adrienne Vaupshas said in an email. "With our economy in this position, the time for extraordinary COVID support is now over."
On Monday, the CDC lowered Mexico down one level from "high" risk to "moderate." There are now three levels.
In the top 10 for most deaths are Brazil in second at 664,179 and Peru sixth with 212,933. Colombia is 12th at 129,809.
Brazil reported 36 deaths Saturday with a record 4,211 early last April. Brazil's deaths declined 29% and cases were up 8% with 14,622 most recently, for a total of 30,558,530 in third. The record is 286,050 in early February.
Peru has the world's highest death rate at 6,296 per million people, which is 900 more than second-place Bulgaria, and 20 Saturday.
Chile has the best vaccination rate on the continent at 92.1% with Argentina 90.4%, Peru 87%, Brazil 86.3% and Colombia at 83.6%.
Australia reported 35,289 cases Sunday with a record of 150,702 in mid-January and a 3% weekly increase. Until the Omicron surge, the record was 2,688 on Oct. 14. Overall, the nation has climbed to 17th in cases with 6,249,101.
Deaths are 7,513, including 18 more Sunday. On Jan. 28, it set a daily record with 134.
Infections are high in Australia because of a high level of testing. "We're probably still doing it more so than anywhere else in the world," Dr. Catherine Bennett, the chairwoman in epidemiology at Deakin University, told The Guardian. "We still have free PCR testing. A lot of countries don't."
Australia, which no longer is in lockdown, has vaccinated 86.7% of its population with at least one dose.
In New Zealand, cases increased 2% with the nation of 5 million people reporting only a few hundred cases a day before the Omicron variant, including a record 216 at the time on Nov. 24. On Sunday, New Zealand reported 5,728 cases for a total of 989,946 with the record 24,106 March 2.
The nation added two deaths for a total of 810 with 68 at the start of March and an 84.3% vaccination rate.
The nation has been hit by the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron.
"It can take weeks or months to assess the severity of each new variant or subvariant, so the Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the emerging evidence closely, the Ministry of Health said Saturday.
South Africa is reporting a surge as winter arrives with a 36% weekly increase one week after a 1% rise.
Overall, South Africa has reported 3,835,902 cases, in 30th worldwide, with 8,524 Saturday and 9,253 the day before, the most since early January. The record was 37,875 during the Omicron surge.
On Saturday, South Africa reported a positivity rate of 31.1%, which is the highest since 32.2% on Dec. 15 after the Omicron variant was reported on Nov. 24.
The nation is 18th in deaths at 100,516, including 11 Saturday.
South Africa's vaccination rate is only 36.4% with Egypt at 46% and Tunisia at 60.7%.
A United Nations Development Program official noted the fighting in Ukraine has added to problems in Africa.
UNDP's senior Africa economist Raymond Gilpin said in a news release there is "an unprecedented crisis for the continent with the ongoing effects of COVID ... newly felt effects of the Russia-Ukraine war and...climate-related challenges and pressures."
He added: "As the cost of fuel becomes more expensive, energy sources, energy prices, don't fall in African countries, we are going to see millions of households going back to unsustainable energy sources, and this in many fragile environments, in particular looking at places like the Sahel.
Sahel is between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south.
Tunisia has the second-most deaths with 28,566 ahead of Egypt with 24,613.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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