August 04, 2022 11:07
The latest surge of COVID led by the new BA.5 variant appears to be slowing down.
The newly emerging BA.2.75 or Centaurus subvariant also appears to be less destructive than expected.
According to Our World in Data on Tuesday, daily new infections around the world had been increasing since June and jumped to 1.1 million on July 23 before taking a downward turn, standing at about 1 million since early this month.
In France, Germany and Italy, which led the latest COVID surge, daily new cases surpassed 100,000 each in early July but have halved since.
In the U.S., some 100,000 people are infected daily, but the number pales compared to 800,000 during the Omicron spike in January.
In Korea and Japan, infections are not falling drastically yet but are slowing down.
"It seems that the latest surge will peak over the next week," said Prof. Jung Jae-hun of Gachon University's Gil Medical Center. "Daily cases will also likely be less than half of what was expected."
Earlier, experts warned that the surge would not peak until mid-to-late August at about 250,000 new cases a day. But it seems that antibodies produced by infections during the Omicron spike in March and April are still active and high-risk groups are fully vaccinated, with more than 40 percent of the over-60s getting a second booster.
Experts now believe that the pandemic has reached a plateau -- on Thursday morning daily tally stood at 107,894 with 310 severe cases and 34 deaths -- pending another surge in winter. The government will focus on targeting high-risk regions instead of re-imposing lockdown indiscriminately.
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