COVID-19 update

This item appears on page 5 of the July 2021 issue.

At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 192 countries and territories, with more than 173.4 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 3.7 million deaths.

On June 1, after a review of excessive deaths in the country, Peru more than doubled its official count of COVID-19-related deaths to more than 180,000, giving it the highest COVID death rate per capita in the world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.5 billion people around the world had received at least one dose of vaccine by press time, with at least 336 million being fully vaccinated. That accounts for all vaccinations recognized by the WHO, not just those approved for use in the US and EU. Those numbers are likely much higher, since some countries, like China, do not regularly update the WHO on their vaccination numbers.

However, the vast majority of recorded vaccinations have occurred in only a handful of countries (the US alone accounts for more than one-third of all fully vaccinated people). Many countries, particularly in Africa and Oceania, have vaccinated less than 1% of their populations.

Thanks in large part to vaccinations, the WHO reported that the number of daily cases was dropping on every continent except Asia and South America. This included a 60% drop in new cases across Europe in May. However, India broke its own daily world records for both new cases and deaths multiple times in May. At press time, India had a 7-day average of 135,000 new cases per day, down from a peak of nearly 400,000 in mid-May.

In South America, Brazil was averaging more than 55,000 per day, while Colombia registered 28,000 and Argentina, 26,000.

In Europe, France had the highest daily average, 16,000.

Aside from India, in Asia, Iran was reporting an average of about 10,000 cases a day and Turkey, 6,000 cases, while Nepal had the highest rate of increase in the world, going from fewer than 100 new cases a day in March to a peak of 9,000, down to more than 4,000 by press time.

No country in Africa was reporting an average of more than 4,000 new cases a day, and no country in Oceania was averaging more than 500.

In North America, Canada was averaging about 2,000 new cases a day, while Mexico was at about 3,000. The US was still averaging more than 18,000.