Global COVID-19 infections hit a record high over the past seven-day period, Reuters data showed on Wednesday, as the Omicron variant raced out of control and governments tried to contain its spread without paralysing fragile economies.
Almost 900,000 cases were detected on average each day around the world between Dec. 22 and 28, with myriad countries posting new all-time highs in the previous 24 hours, including the United States, Australia, many in Europe and Argentina and Bolivia.
Although studies have suggested Omicron is less deadly than some previous variants, the sheer number of people testing positive mean that hospitals in some countries could soon be overwhelmed, while businesses might struggle to carry on without quarantined workers.
Researchers in South Africa found that a key part of the immune system’s second-line defense – its T cells – are highly effective at recognizing and attacking the Omicron variant, preventing most infections from progressing to critical illness. read more