The World Health Organization said Tuesday that reported new coronavirus cases and deaths across the world fell by about 10% for the week ending September 26, with an estimated 3.3 million new infections and 55,000 deaths worldwide.
The biggest drops in new cases were in the Eastern Mediterranean (17%) and Western Pacific (15%) regions. The biggest drops in weekly deaths were in the Western Pacific (24%), Southeast Asia (20%), and Eastern Mediterranean (16%).
The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean serves 22 countries and territories in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Central Asia. It does not include all Eastern Mediterranean nations and covers a number of countries far from the Mediterranean Sea. The region covered includes Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The WHO first reported a substantial decrease in new cases in mid-September.
Based on statistics compiled by the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Data Repository, the seven-day rolling average of new cases worldwide started dropping from about 662,000 cases (84 cases per million population) on August 26, and the week-by-week change dipped below zero on August 30, when new cases worldwide dropped by 0.62% compared to the previous week. As of September 29, the seven-day rolling average of new cases worldwide stood at around 452,000 (57 cases per million population), representing a 12.31% drop compared to the previous week.
The global drop in new cases included a nearly 45% drop in South America, 21% in Africa, 17% in Asia, and 11% in North America, but also an increase of 4.7% in Europe and 9.9% in Australia.
The WHO said deaths from the coronavirus were down by at least 10% in all regions except Europe, where they dropped by only 1%, and Africa, which experienced a 5% rise in deaths.
The Johns Hopkins data showed that as of September 29, weekly reported deaths were down 7.16% globally. This included drops of nearly 22% in Asia and 5% in South America and Africa, and 2.5% in North America, but increases of more than 6% in Europe and 40% in Australia.
Despite the optimistic trend currently seen worldwide, with winter coming to the heavily populated Northern Hemisphere and social distancing restrictions being relaxed in many places, more COVID-19 spikes could be on the way, the WHO warned.
Looking at the Middle East and North Africa, new cases were down nearly everywhere over the past week, ranging from a 66.9% drop in Saudi Arabia to a 4.6% drop in Yemen. However, new cases were up sharply in Sudan, which saw a 97% increase in confirmed cases, as well as Somalia (79.5%), Djibouti (77.9%), and Syria (72.7%), with small rises in Egypt and in Jordan.
Weekly deaths were down significantly in many of the MENA region countries that have had the highest cumulative death tolls over the course of the pandemic, such as Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Iraq. But weekly deaths increased by 300% in Djibouti, 233.3% in Sudan, 85.9% in Egypt, and 80% in Lebanon, with moderate increases in Syria, the UAE, Yemen, and Jordan.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, has also looked at the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa. Unlike The Media Line, IHME does not include in the MENA region Afghanistan, Cyprus, Djibouti, Israel, Mauritania, Pakistan, Somalia, or Sudan. According to the IHME, around 5,524 people died from COVID-19 across the region during the week ending September 29, compared to about 6,081 the previous week – a 9% decrease.