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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 21, 2024  1 month, 3 days, 14 hours, 33 minutes ago

Global COVID-19 Updates By WHO Shows That Hospitalizations Increased By 40 Percent And ICU Admissions By 13 Percent In Last 28 Days

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Global COVID-19 Updates By WHO Shows That Hospitalizations Increased By 40 Percent And ICU Admissions By 13 Percent In Last 28 Days
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 21, 2024  1 month, 3 days, 14 hours, 33 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: As the world continues its battle against the persistent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) presents a detailed and comprehensive epidemiological update in Edition 163, published on January 19, 2024. This report covered in this COVID-19 News report, delves into the global panorama over the 28-day period from December 11, 2023, to January 7, 2024, shedding light on the multifaceted facets of the ongoing pandemic. From the global surge in new cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions to regional variations and the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the report serves as a crucial resource for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the public in navigating the complex landscape of the pandemic.


 Global COVID-19 Hospitalizations Have Increased By 40 Percent In The Last 28 Days

Global Overview
The global scenario witnessed a 4% increase in new cases during the 28-day period, with over 1.1 million reported cases. (It should be noted that many countries are not submitting data to the WHO and also testing rates in most countries are extremely low!)
 
The WHO has already previously admitted about a week ago that actual figures are much more higher than reported figures!
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-covid-19-news-who-warns-sars-cov-2-infection-rates-are-2-19-times-higher-than-reported-and-cautions-of-looming-threat-of-long-covid
 
Alarming spikes were observed in COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, with a surge of 40% and 13%, respectively. This amounted to over 173,000 hospitalizations and 1,900 ICU admissions. Disturbingly, 8,700 new fatalities were reported, bringing the global death toll to over seven million.
 
JN.1, the prevailing variant of interest (VOI), dominated the global landscape during this period, reported by 71 countries and comprising 65.5% of sequences in week 52.
 
Despite its prevalence, a risk evaluation published on December 19, 2023, suggested a low public health risk at the global level based on available evidence.
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/18122023_jn.1_ire_clean.pdf
 
Other variants of interest (VOIs) and variants under monitoring (VUMs) were also tracked by WHO.
 
Challenges in Data Interpretation
The report emphasizes caution in interpreting trends due to decreased testing and sequencing, reporting delays, and changes in reporting frequency by various countries. It also highlights the underestimation of the real burden, with clinical detection of cases likely falling short by 2 to 19 times. The SARS-CoV-2 PCR percent positivity, reported as approximately 8% as of January 7, 2024, reflects the challenges in obtaining accurate infection rates.
 
Changes in WHO Dashboard and Strategic Preparedness
In response to the evolving nature of the pandemic, the WHO Coronavirus Dashboard was updated on December 22, 2023, with a new interface. This adaptation supports the transition from an emergency response to long-term disease management, aligning with the WHO's 2023-2025 Updated Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. The dashboard is set to evolve further throughout 2024, incorporating additional components.
 
Regional Trends
The report provides a nuanced understanding of regional trends, offering a comprehensive analysis of the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the European Region, the South-East Asia Region, and the Western Pacific Region.
 
African Region: A 63% decrease in new cases compared to the previous 28 day period was reported, with notable increases in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burundi, and Angola. The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Mauritius (3228 new cases; 253.8 new cases per 100,000; -57%), Angola (417 new cases; 1.3 new cases per 100,000; +32%), and Burundi (78 new cases; +53%).
 
Region of the Americas: A decrease of 18% in new cases was observed, with increases noted in Panama, Barbados, Bolivia, Guyana, Colombia, Paraguay, and Jamaica. The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Canada (18,947 new cases; 50.2 new cases per 100,000; -18%), Chile (9693 new cases; 50.7 new cases per 100,000; -25%), and Peru (4657 new cases; 14.1 new cases per 100,000; -38%). The number of new 28-day deaths in the Region decreased by 41% as compared to the previous 28-day period, with 3869 new deaths reported.
 
Eastern Mediterranean Region: A 13% decrease in new cases, with Kuwait showing a significant proportional increase. The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Afghanistan (1256 new cases; 3.2 new cases per 100,000; +14%), the Islamic Republic of Iran (663 new cases; -13%), and Saudi Arabia (321 new cases; -49%). The number of new 28-day deaths in the Region increased by 53% as compared to the previous 28-day period, with 207 new deaths reported.
 
European Region: A 13% decrease in new cases, with Malta, Republic of Moldova, Ireland, Greece, the United Kingdom, Romania, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands reporting notable increases.
 
However, the highest numbers of new cases were reported from the Russian Federation (235,198 new cases; 161.2 new cases per 100,000; -30%), Italy (163,599 new cases; 274.3 new cases per 100,000; -18%), and Greece (68,590 new cases; 639.9 new cases per 100,000; +81%). The number of new 28-day deaths in the Region decreased by 3% as compared to the previous 28-day period, with 4194 new deaths reported.
 
South-East Asia Region: A staggering 379% increase in new cases, with India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka showing significant proportional increases. The highest numbers of new cases were reported from India (15,079 new cases; 1.1 new cases per 100,000; +843%), Indonesia (8610 new cases; 3.1 new cases per 100,000; +399%), and Thailand (2327 new cases; 3.3 new cases per 100,000; +17%). The number of new 28-day deaths in the Region increased by 564% as compared to the previous 28-day period, with 186 new deaths reported.
 
Western Pacific Region: A 77% increase in new cases, with Niue, Palau, Tonga, Cook Islands, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and China reporting significant proportional increases. The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Singapore (174,643 new cases; 2985.2 new cases per 100,000; +117%), Malaysia (67,206 new cases; 207.6 new cases per 100,000; +164%), and Australia (41,965 new cases; 164.6 new cases per 100,000; -18%). The number of new 28-day deaths in the Region decreased by 45% as compared to the previous 28-day period, with 416 new deaths reported.
 
Hospitalizations and ICU Admissions
The report provides a detailed analysis of global hospitalizations and ICU admissions over the past 28 days. A total of 173,547 new hospitalizations and 1,966 new ICU admissions were reported globally, indicating a 32% increase and 3% decrease, respectively, compared to the previous 28 day period period.
 
Severity Indicators
Key severity indicators, including the ICU-to-hospitalization ratio and death-to-hospitalization ratio, offer insights into the evolving dynamics of COVID-19. The ICU-to-hospitalization ratio has been decreasing since July 2021, suggesting a decreasing proportion of new hospitalizations requiring intensive care. Similarly, the death-to-hospitalization ratio has shown a general decline since July 2021, indicating a lower mortality risk among hospitalized individuals.
 
SARS-CoV-2 Variants
The report highlights the geographic spread and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variants during the 28-day period. Globally, JN.1 emerged as the dominant circulating VOI, accounting for 65.5% of sequences in week 52. The prevalence of other VOIs (XBB.1.5, XBB.1.16, EG.5) and VUMs showed varying trends, with JN.1 posing a low public health risk based on current evidence.
 
Conclusion
In conclusion, the WHO's latest update provides a comprehensive overview of the intricate dynamics of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From the global surge in new cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions to regional variations and the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the report underscores the importance of continued vigilance, testing, and public health infrastructure. As the world grapples with evolving challenges, this detailed analysis serves as a crucial resource for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the public in navigating the complex landscape of the pandemic. Vigilance, adaptability, and international collaboration remain paramount in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.
 
The latest WHO COVID-19 epidemiological update, Edition 163 can be found here:
https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/covid-19-epidemiological-update---19-january-2024
 
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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