As many countries struggle to rein in the highly transmissible Delta (B1617.2) COVID-19 variant, Australia and Japan reported new single-day highs, while situations stabilized in some parts of Africa and the Americas.
Elsewhere, New Zealand reported 11 new cases in a growing cluster in the Auckland area.
Australia and Japan cases surge
With 754 new cases today, Australia reported its biggest daily total of the pandemic, according to Reuters. Most of the burden is from an outbreak centered on Sydney in New South Wales state, which also reported a record single-day high of 681 cases.
Sydney’s outbreak is growing, despite a 7-week lockdown. Australian officials have tapped into an emergency supply of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to vaccinate younger adults in Sydney’s worst-affected suburbs.
Elsewhere in Australia, more local cases were reported in Melbourne and Canberra, which are also in lockdown.
In neighboring New Zealand, 11 more local cases were reported in a growing cluster in Auckland, raising the total to 21, according to the New Zealand Herald. Officials have linked the source to a traveler from Sydney and said at least 12 cases have been confirmed as part of the same cluster, and 8 more are expected to be linked to the cluster.
Japan yesterday reported a record 23,917 cases, with the virus fueling rises in many areas outside the Tokyo epicenter, according to the Japan Times. Twenty seven of the country’s 47 prefectures reported record-high case totals yesterday.
In Tokyo, about 80% of the critical care beds are full, and about 60% of the country’s population is under a state of emergency, which was recently extended until Sep 12.
More global headlines
- In the Americas, most countries in South America are reporting declining cases, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) officials said yesterday at a briefing. Brazil’s hospital occupancy is below 80% for all of its states for the first time since November. However, activity is accelerating in North America, Central America, and Caribbean locations.
- Africa is starting to see its third wave level off, but the situation is very fragile, Matshidiso Moeti, MBBS, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said at a briefing today. She said the Delta variant is dominant in most countries, and 23 are experiencing rising cases. Though vaccine shipments are ramping up, only 2% of Africa’s population is fully vaccinated, she said, reiterating a call for richer countries to prioritize vaccine equity over booster doses.
- The global total today climbed to 209,461,916 cases, with at least 4,393,112 deaths, according to the New York Times tracker.