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Since last December, 199 million new Covid cases, 3.4 million deaths logged globally

 Published on Dec 14, 2021 09:03 AM IST

Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The threat of the pandemic continues to linger, with countries now instituting booster doses to replenish the waning immunity delivered by the Covid-19 shots.


In the span of one year, about 199 million people have contracted the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) globally, with more than 3.4 million succumbing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).


The coronavirus pandemic has not subsided even as vaccines have become widely available and the infectious disease protocols more ingrained in everyday life.


Omicron, a new variant of SARS-Cov-2, said to be even more infectious than Delta, the key driver behind the second and third waves of the pandemic, has recently escalated concern among countries and experts. Omicron is inherently capable of undergoing frequent mutations that need extensive studies yet.


According to the updates provided weekly by the WHO there were more than 70 million Covid-19 cases and almost 1.6 million deaths reported globally, on December 13, 2020.


A year later, the coronavirus tracker of the international public health body on December 14, 2021, shows that 269 million Covid-19 cases and five million related deaths have so far been reported.


“Globally, as of 4:51pm CET, 13 December 2021, there have been 269,468,311 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 5,304,248 deaths, reported to WHO,” the UN agency noted on its dashboard.


“As of 12 December 2021, a total of 8,200,642,671 vaccine doses have been administered,” it said.


Around this time in December last year, the Americas and Europe were the regions primarily shouldering the burden of the pandemic.


According to the WHO epidemiological report of December 13, 2020, the continents combined accounted for 85 per cent of all new Covid-19 cases and 86 per cent of new deaths that week.


The African and the Western-Pacific region also showed a renewed rise in cases during November and December and the number of hospitalisations and fatalities in Southeast Asia declined following a peak in September.


The five countries reporting the highest number of cases globally that week were the United States, Brazil, Turkey, India, and Russia, with the rising infections being partly attributed to the selective reopening of economies and the approaching holiday season.


In India, Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan were then among some of the most affected areas by the coronavirus pandemic.


The world was, of course, much less equipped to deal with the pandemic as it is now. The first vaccine against Covid-19 was administered on December 9, 2020, marking what the then UK health secretary Matt Hancock called “the start of the fightback against our common enemy, the coronavirus.”


Since then, leading pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson have partnered up with researchers to churn out millions of vaccine doses and world governments have distributed them throughout the globe.


As of this day, 8.47 billion doses of Covid‑19 vaccines have been administered worldwide based on official reports from national public health agencies.


Countries have also selectively reopened their economies, with ‘vaccine passports’ put in place in certain jurisdictions as part of efforts to control the spread of the infectious disease. According to data issued by public health authorities, around 56 per cent of the world population presently remains vaccinated with both doses of the shot.


However, it is also true that the threat of the pandemic continues to linger, with countries now instituting booster doses to replenish the waning immunity delivered by the Covid-19 shots.


The Americas and Europe continue to add more Covid-19 cases, with the continents collectively reporting around 98 million and 91 million confirmed infections, respectively. Southeast Asia, with its 44 million cases, is close behind, amid fears of emergent strains of the virus.


Amid all this, WHO recommends strict adherence to all necessary pandemic-related protocols.


The following are the norms that need to be followed:

• Get vaccinated as soon as it’s your turn and follow local guidance on vaccination.

• Keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others, even if they don’t appear to be sick. Avoid crowds and close contact.

• Wear a properly fitted mask when physical distancing is not possible and in poorly ventilated settings.

• Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues immediately and clean hands regularly.

• If you develop symptoms or test positive for Covid-19, self-isolate until you recover.