Worldwide daily Covid deaths have plunged to their lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic, in what experts have described as ‘something to celebrate’.
The seven-day average number of fatalities stood at 2,813 on Sunday, according to the global research platform Our World In Data, the lowest since March 28, 2020 (2,735).
Average daily deaths hit 14,500 during the darkest phase of the crisis in January 2021 and topped 10,900 at the peak of the Omicron wave this February.
Top scientists claim the cumulative effect of repeated waves of the virus, high vaccination uptake and the milder strains currently circulating are all behind the falling death rate.
Hong Kong currently has one of the worst death rates in the world as the former ‘Zero Covid’ state wrestles with the ultra-transmissible Omicron and relies on sub-par vaccines made in China. There were 7 deaths per a million people every day in the country in the week to Sunday. It was only behind Monaco (7.2).
Britain currently sits 11th in terms of its Covid death rate (4.2), with its ranking creeping up in recent weeks due to sky-high infection rates. The US is 46th (1.3).
Researchers also estimate that the Covid case fatality rate now stands at 0.25 per cent worldwide, meaning one in 400 people who test positive will die with the virus. The figure is down from around two per cent before Omicron emerged and marks the lowest rate recorded since the pandemic began. When testing was constrained in the early days of the pandemic, around one in 14 of those who had a confirmed infection (7.3 per cent) died with the virus
Covid triggered record infection rates and caused havoc worldwide at the start of the year. Omicron saw daily cases peak at 4.1million worldwide on January 19 alone. The figure is 4.7 times higher than when global cases peaked at 870,840 in January 2021. The graph above shows the rolling seven-day average number of daily cases
WHAT COUNTRIES ARE RECORDING THE HIGHEST DEATH TOLL?
Figures from the Oxford University-based research platform Our World in Data shows that Hong Kong, Monaco and Greece are logging the most daily deaths per million people every day in the week to April 13.
Hong Kong: 7
Bonaire Sint Eustatius and Saba: 5.4
South Korea: 4.3
Around 6.2million virus deaths have been confirmed worldwide in the first two years of the pandemic. The US has recorded the most (990,000), followed by Brazil (660,000), India (520,000) and Russia (365,000).
However, data shows Peru has suffered the worst per population, with 6,374 deaths for every million people since the Covid crisis began, followed by Bulgaria (5,334), Bosnia and Herzegovina (4,826) and Hungary (4,761).
Experts say the true virus death toll will be many times higher than the reported figures due to limited testing and difficulties attributing the cause of death to the virus, as many fatalities will involve other underlying conditions.
And it is difficult to compare figures between countries because some nations only count deaths that occurred in hospitals.
But data from the Oxford University-based platform Our World in Data shows how daily Covid fatalities have been trending downwards since February 10, when an average of 10,918 virus deaths were logged.
Cases have also been tumbling worldwide since hitting a high of 3.4million in January, despite briefly rising again to 1.8million on March 18 because of Omicron. Testing rates have also plunged in major nations.
Dr Eric Topol, a cardiologist and Covid commentator at US research centre Scripts Research, argued the dropping death rate is ‘something to celebrate’.
The tumbling death toll comes despite Omicron being declared by the World Health Organization as the dominant strain globally at the end of March.
The virus triggered record infection rates and caused havoc worldwide in January. Covid rates made a resurgence in the UK, which saw one in 13 people infected at the peak earlier this month.
And an Omicron outbreak in China’s economic hub Shanghai, which is logging around 25,000 positive swabs per day, has seen local authorities resort to forcibly restraining angry protestors who have been forced to stay indoors for weeks.
Researchers also estimate that the Covid case fatality rate now stands at 0.25 per cent worldwide, meaning one in 400 people who test positive will die with the virus.
The figure is down from around two per cent before Omicron emerged and marks the lowest rate recorded since the pandemic began.
When testing was constrained in the early days of the pandemic, around one in 14 of those who had a confirmed infection (7.3 per cent) died with the virus.
But the actual death rate — known as the infection fatality rate — is even lower and data from the UK suggests the virus is now no deadlier than seasonal flu.
Experts say Covid is now less deadly due to sky-high immunity rates triggered by prior infections and vaccination, with two-thirds of the world’s 7.8billion people thought to have received at least one jab. And 109million infections have been confirmed worldwide, although the true rate will be significantly higher.
Despite deaths trending downwards globally, they have been heading up in Britain over the past few weeks.
The UK Government logs deaths as any fatalities that occur within 28 days of testing positive.
Critics say sky-high prevalence rates have skewed the tolls, with the proportion of deaths ‘with’ the virus jumping since Omicron took off.
The same trend has been seen in hospitals, with up to half of patients incidentally having the virus as opposed to needing treatment for it.