GENEVA (AN) — The global number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 500 million with nearly 6.2 million deaths on Wednesday as a highly contagious Omicron sub-variant surged in Asia and Europe.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, however, said during the previous week the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths was recorded since the pandemic began in 2020. Some countries still suffer from a serious spike in cases that pressures hospitals but "our ability to monitor trends is compromised as testing has significantly reduced," he told a press briefing.
The U.N. health agency is closely following several Omicron sub-lineages, he said, as the coronavirus "has over time become more transmissible and it remains deadly especially for the unprotected and unvaccinated that don’t have access to health care and antivirals."
Some 500,364,000 COVID-19 infections have been confirmed globally along with nearly 6.2 million deaths during the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University and Google data trackers. The U.S. alone has recorded nearly 80.5 million cases and more than 986,400 deaths from coronavirus. More than 11 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally.
The world surpassed 400 million cases on February 9, little more than a month after hitting the 300 million mark on January 7 and five months after the 200 million mark was crossed. It took half a year to go from 100 million to 200 million. Before that a bit more than a year passed between the first reported outbreak and the first 100 million cases, according to WHO figures.