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MarketWatch MarketPulseJan 26, 2022
Coronavirus tally: Global cases rose to more than 21 million in latest week, the most since the start of the pandemic, WHO says
The World Health Organization said Wednesday the number of new COVID cases recorded in the week through Jan. 23 rose 5% to more than 21 million, the most reported on a weekly basis since the start of the pandemic. The number reflects the speed with which the highly contagious omicron variant has spread. The agency said omicron continues to pose a lower risk of severe disease and death than other variants and people who are vaccinated are protected from both. "However, due to the very high numbers of cases, many countries have seen a significant increase in the incidence of hospitalization, putting pressure on healthcare systems," the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO COVID-19 technical lead, said in a livestream Tuesday that almost three billion people have still not received a first vaccine dose, leaving the risk of new variants emerging that may prove vaccine-resistant. In the U.S., case numbers are retreating from their early January peak. The U.S. is averaging 652,278 cases a day, according to a New York Times tracker, down 14% from two weeks ago. Hospitalizations at an average of 155,247 remain high, however, and deaths are averaging more than 2,362 a day, the most since last winter. On a global basis, the total tally for COVID-19 cases hiked up above 358.9 million and the death toll rose above 5.61 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 72 million and death toll of 872,126.

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