Covid cases rise as Omicron variants run rampant

New York, New York - While vaccinations have greatly cut down on hospitalizations and deaths, Covid-19 cases are on the rise again around the world.

Covid testing sites are still set up on New York City streets, as the city moved to a "high" alert level following a surge of cases in May.
Covid testing sites are still set up on New York City streets, as the city moved to a "high" alert level following a surge of cases in May.  © SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

More than 4.1 million cases of coronavirus were reported globally last week, up 18%, according to the World Health Organization.

Coronavirus cases in the US are slightly up, with a rolling seven-day daily average of 108,505 new cases as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In New York, trends are the same, even after Mayor Eric Adams dropped the city’s Covid alert level to "medium" last week.

"Day after day, New Yorkers are stepping up and doing their part, and because of our collective efforts we are winning the fight against Covid-19," Adams said at the time.

"We’re grateful to New Yorkers for their continued attention and vigilance as we’ve made our way through to the other side of this wave."

Those figures, though, don’t include at-home positive test results, which the city does not track, and are far more popular due to widespread availability and milder symptoms.

Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, which account for much of the global Covid-19 spread, are less rampant in New York City, accounting for about 45% of the cases, according to NYC Health.

Health officials are still urging people to stay masked indoors, test frequently, especially after travel or large gatherings, and stay home if you feel sick.

Covid cases are still on the rise worldwide

The US Food and Drug Administration on June 30, 2022 told vaccine makers that Covid boosters for this fall and winter should include components targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages of Omicron.
The US Food and Drug Administration on June 30, 2022 told vaccine makers that Covid boosters for this fall and winter should include components targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages of Omicron.  © Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

The WHO warned that the pandemic may look different, but it is still affecting lower-income countries at a rapid pace.

"This pandemic is changing, but it’s not over," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference earlier this week.

His concern, he said, is that countries have gotten lax on tracking cases and transmission, even as the most vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly and health care workers, remain unvaccinated.

More than 1.2 billion Covid-19 vaccines have been administered around the world, officials said. But in poor countries, the average immunization rate is only about 13%.

"If rich countries are vaccinating children from as young as 6 months old and planning to do further rounds of vaccination, it is incomprehensible to suggest that lower-income countries should not vaccinate and boost their most at risk (people)," Tedros said Wednesday.

The new numbers released for the US and New York City showed even more emphasis on staying vigilant. In June, the CDC approved vaccinations for children between 6 months and 5 years old, now covering all but the youngest population in the US.

Cover photo: Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

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