U.S. Leads Globe in New COVID Cases, Europe Sees Drop After Weeks of Gains, WHO Finds

In new weekly data released Tuesday by the World Health Organization, the United States led the world in newly detected COVID cases, as the countries that make up WHO's European region saw a combined dip after weeks of increases.

The U.S. registered over 752,000 new cases over the past week, by far the most by a single country and a 30 percent increase over new cases reported the prior week.

Overall, Europe saw a 2 percent dip to just under 2.7 million new cases among the 53 countries in the region, with Germany and Britain reporting the second and third highest numbers behind the U.S. at over 396,000 and 310,000, respectively.

Of the 212 confirmed Omicron variant cases for which data was available in the 18 countries of the European Union, all were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. The WHO said that greater understanding of the Omicron variant will come as more cases are detected and studied to determine the severity of illness it causes when compared to the Delta variant, which is currently responsible for the majority of new cases.

The report stated that the most recent week is the first decrease in cases reported in Europe since mid-October. In recent weeks, several European countries have announced policies from vaccine mandates for specific workers to restrictions for unvaccinated residents.

Many of the new restrictions and mandates have been met with protests, such as those took place over the weekend in , where 40,000 residents protested against the announced mandate of COVID vaccination for every eligible citizen by February 1, 2022. Austria was the first country to take such a step.

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The U.S. registered a 30 percent increase over new cases reported the prior week; Europe saw a 2 percent decline in new cases. Above, people wearing face masks to help curbing COVID-19 virus spread wait for a train at a subway station in Lisbon on December 7. Armando Franca/Associated Press

The WHO said in the weekly report that Europe recorded 29,000 new deaths over the period—a decline of 3 percent from the previous week.

Globally, it said case incidents "plateaued" over the last week with more than 4 million new cases reported, though the count of new weekly deaths rose 10 percent to more than 52,500.

Cases shot up in Africa—which has had by far the fewest cases of any of WHO's six regions so far—by 79 percent to more than 6.3 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic. But there were 498 deaths in the Africa region for the week, a decline of 13 percent from the previous week.

Overall, the Africa region has tallied more than 153,000 deaths linked to COVID-19, compared to more than 1.5 million in Europe and 2.3 million in its Americas zone, WHO said.

The counts of verified cases and death linked to the pandemic are likely to far underestimate the actual toll, officials have said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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In new weekly data released by the WHO Tuesday, the US, Germany and Britain recorded the most new COVID cases. Above, a picture taken on May 8 shows a sign of the World Health Organization at the entrance of their headquarters in Geneva amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images