Coronavirus: Global deaths fall

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 dropped by seven percent around the world over the past week, although the rate of new cases remained stable, according to AFP data.

Here is the state of play worldwide:

A grave digger wearing a protective suit stands next to a hearse carrying the coffins of two COVID-19 victims at the Alto de Sao Joao cemetery in Lisbon on February 18, 2021.

Deaths drop

The number of COVID deaths decreased by seven percent to 62,055 over the past week, an average of 8,865 per day.

The decrease took place mainly in North America, where the number of deaths dropped by a fifth, to 12,282. In Asia, the number of victims decreased by 18 percent to 3,666, while in Africa the figure dropped by 14 percent, for a total of 2,151 deaths. Europe, which mourned the most deaths in the world at 22,795, nevertheless also saw a decrease of four percent in its toll.

The good news was tempered by a nine percent increase in deaths in the Middle East (1,824) and a three percent climb in Latin America and the Caribbean, where there were 19,425 deaths.

Less than 400,000 daily cases

With 382,983 new cases recorded every day on average this week, the infection rate is stable compared to the previous week. Last week, it had risen after the number of cases was cut in half between mid-January and mid-February, according to an AFP tally to Thursday.

The number of confirmed cases only reflects a fraction of the actual number of infections, as different countries have varying counting practices and levels of testing.

N.America down, Europe up

The number of new cases decreased in particular in North America, with 20 percent less, or 61,608 cases per day. It also decreased by six percent in Africa (9,426) and in Asia (minus four percent, 31,406 cases).

But the number of new cases increased by 10 percent in the Middle East (31,324), eight percent in Europe (157,760 cases) and three percent in Latin America (91,409).

The United States remains the country with the most cases in the world with 28,827,140 as well as the most deaths at 520,356.

Steepest falls

For the fourth week in a row the biggest drop in new cases took place in Portugal, with 36 percent less, or 815 new cases per day, as a lockdown decreed in mid-January bore fruit.

The United Kingdom followed with 34 percent less, or 6,685 cases, then Spain with 25 percent less, or 4,487 cases, Indonesia (25 percent less, 6,636) and Malaysia (minus 24 percent, 2,035).

Biggest spikes

With an 86 percent increase in its number of new cases (5,433), Hungary is the country in which the pandemic has picked up most speed, among nations that recorded more than 1,000 daily cases over the past week. The country had already seen a 69 percent increase the previous week.

Among the other territories which recorded big increases are the West Bank (48 percent, 1,563 daily cases), Estonia (44 percent more, 1,502), Jordan (plus 41 percent, 4,726 cases) and Poland (plus 32 percent, 11,058 cases).