The world recorded a record average of more than three million coronavirus cases per day between January 13 and 19, powered by the Omicron variant, a AFP the tally showed Thursday.
The figure has more than quintupled since the highly transmissible strain was detected in South Africa and Botswana in late November 2021.
An average of 3,095,971 daily cases have been reported in the past seven days, a 17% increase from the previous week.
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Prior to the emergence of Omicron, the previous record for average global daily infections was around 800,000 at the end of April 2021.
Current infection levels are approximately 440% higher than the daily average for the week ending November 24, 2021, when South Africa reported Omicron to the World Health Organization.
The world recorded an average of 7,522 Covid-related deaths per day between January 13 and 19, an 11% increase from the previous week, although Omicron has so far appeared to cause less severe illness than the previously dominant Delta variant.
In Britain, new Covid cases soared by more than 300% between late November and early January, but the number of patients requiring ventilation did not increase during this period.
Figures are based on official statistics produced by national health authorities and compiled by AFP.
A significant proportion of less severe or asymptomatic cases go undetected despite intensified testing regimes since the start of the pandemic.
Testing policies also vary from country to country.
Taking into account the excess mortality linked to Covid-19, the WHO estimates that the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.
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