Global Covid Tally Passes 500,000,000. And That’s Likely An Undercount.
As the Johns Hopkins University tracker tops half a billion covid infections worldwide, experts worry about the pace -- known cases jumped from 300 million in January to 400 million in February -- and that testing deficiencies are likely not counting many new infections. News outlets also report on BA.2 spread in the U.S. as well as other subvariants.
The New York Times:
The World Surpasses Half A Billion Known Coronavirus Cases, Amid Concerns About Testing.
The coronavirus is continuing to stalk the world at an astonishing clip, racing past a grim succession of pandemic milestones in 2022: totals of 300 million known cases around the world by early January, 400 million by early February and, as of Tuesday, half a billion. There have almost certainly been far more infections than that among the global population of 7.9 billion, with many going undetected or unreported, and the reporting gap may only grow wider as some countries, including the United States, scale back official testing. (Hassan, 4/13)
World COVID Cases Surpass 500 Million
There's been an issue throughout the pandemic with lower-income countries having limited public health resources and a lack of coronavirus vaccine access — particularly in Africa, where 21 countries had vaccinated less than 10% of their populations as of February, according to the World Health Organization. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stressed that the world is still in the grip of the virus' acute phase. But this could end by the middle of 2022 if 70% of the world is vaccinated, he said. (Falconer, 4/13)
Estimate: Less Than Half The World Has Had COVID-19, With No Indication Of Herd Immunity
From March 2020 to the emergence of the Omicron variant in late 2021, about 3.8 billion COVID-19 infections and reinfections occurred, with nearly 44% of the world's population infected at least once but with wide regional variations, estimates a statistical analysis of 190 countries and territories published late last week in The Lancet. ... Of all infections and reinfections, 1.3 billion occurred in South Asia, the highest count of all regions, but the highest infection rate (79.3%) was in sub-Saharan Africa. High-income countries had the fewest cases, at 239 million, while Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania had the lowest infection rate (13.0%). The rate in the United States and Canada was 30.9%, while the rate in Western Europe was 48.9% (Van Beusekom, 4/12)
And more on the spread of covid —
The New White House Coronavirus Czar Calls For Calm As BA.2 COVID Cases Rise
The U.S. should use this moment when coronavirus cases are relatively low to prepare for a "likely" surge in the future, according to an assessment from the new White House coronavirus response coordinator. Monday was Dr. Ashish Jha's first official day in the role and he takes on the job at an important time in the pandemic. Congress has yet to approve funding that would cover the cost of testing, vaccines and lifesaving treatment, and there is concern that the delay could hamper access to all three. COVID cases have also risen slightly across the U.S. in the past week, particularly in the Northeast, after mostly trending downwards since a peak in January, with the BA.2 variant now the dominant strain. (Levitt and Estrin, 4/12)
Omicron Subvariant Now Almost 90 Percent Of US COVID Cases: CDC
Nearly 90 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the United States are now a more transmissible subvariant of omicron known as BA.2, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data, for the week ending April 9, shows that 86 percent of cases were the BA.2 variant, showing how the variant has risen in the United States to now make up almost all new cases. (Sullivan, 4/12)
WHO Tracking New Omicron Sub-Variants Amid US BA.2 Surge
Only a few dozen cases have been reported to the GISAID database. The U.K. Health Security Agency said last week that work was underway to "precisely define the phylogeny" of the variants. In an April 8 update, the organization wrote that BA.4 had been found in South Africa, Denmark, Botswana, England and Scotland. All BA.5 cases were in South Africa, but Botswana's ministry of health reportedly said it had identified four cases of both BA.4 and BA.5 among individuals aged 30 to 50 years old who were fully vaccinated and experiencing mild symptoms. (Musto, 4/12)
The Boston Globe:
Levels Of Coronavirus Continue To Climb In Waste Water In Eastern Mass.
The levels of coronavirus in Eastern Massachusetts waste water continued to climb through the weekend, suggesting more COVID-19 case increases may be ahead. The levels fell precipitously from heights reached early this year as the Omicron wave peaked. Then they bottomed out around the beginning of March. They have been rising gradually since, although they are still just a fraction of their peak, according to data from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. (Finucane and Huddle, 4/12)
San Francisco Chronicle:
A Bay Area School Group Went To D.C. Fifty Kids Came Back With COVID
Marin County eighth-graders got to visit Washington, D.C., last week, renewing a favorite spring break tradition that had been on a two-year pandemic hiatus. But dozens of them returned with more than souvenirs: Over the past two days, about 50 students have tested positive for the coronavirus, swept up in an East Coast swell in COVID cases that has hit high-ranking policymakers and the D.C. elite. “By and large they’re having mild symptoms,” Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County health officer, said of the infected students. He said about 90% of eighth-graders in the county are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and half have received booster shots as well. (Allday, 4/12)
The Washington Post:
Should U.S. Lift Its Entry Covid Test Rule? 5 Health Experts Weigh In.
One of the biggest logistical headaches for international travelers — the requirement to test negative for the coronavirus within a day of flying into the United States — appears to be sticking around. Here’s what five health experts say about whether the testing rule is still needed. (Sampson, 4/12)