What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
U.S. reports record 1.35 million COVID-19 cases in a day
The United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total for any country in the world as the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing.
The previous record was 1.03 million cases on Jan. 3. A large number of cases are reported each Monday due to many states not reporting over the weekend. The seven-day average for new cases has tripled in two weeks to over 700,000 new infections a day.
Too soon to treat COVID-19 like flu as Omicron spreads - WHO
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is on track to infect more than half of Europeans, but it should not yet be seen as a flu-like endemic illness, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Europe saw more than 7 million newly-reported cases in the first week of 2022, more than doubling over a two-week period, WHO's Europe director Hans Kluge told a news briefing.
Studies suggest Omicron has higher 'asymptomatic carriage'
Preliminary findings from two South African clinical trials suggest the Omicron variant has a much higher rate of "asymptomatic carriage" than earlier variants, which could explain why it has spread so rapidly across the globe.
The studies - one of which was carried out when Omicron infections were surging in South Africa last month and another which resampled participants around the same time - found a far greater number of people tested positive for the coronavirus but were not showing symptoms compared to previous trials.
Chinese cities tighten COVID-19 curbs
Cities across China are imposing tougher restrictions to try to control new outbreaks of COVID-19, with Tianjin battling the Omicron variant which was detected to have been transmitted locally in two other provinces.
A Tianjin official told a Tuesday press briefing that 49 domestically-transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms have been detected during the latest outbreak.
Hong Kong will shut kindergartens and primary schools and start offering vaccines for children from the age of five, the city's leader said on Tuesday, as the financial hub grapples with an increase in infections.
Japan to maintain strict border restrictions until end of February
Japan will maintain its tight entry restrictions to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant until the end of February, the prime minister said on Tuesday, though some exceptions for humanitarian reasons may be considered.
Japan adopted some of the strictest border controls in the world when Omicron emerged late last year.
In vaccine-shy Poland, COVID deaths top 100,000
Poland's total number of coronavirus-related deaths surpassed 100,000 on Tuesday, the health minister said, as the country struggles to convince people to get vaccinated despite persistently high infection rates.
The number of deaths per one million inhabitants was last week among the highest in the world, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford, at more than 57 compared to around 34 in the United States and 38 in Russia.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022. Click For Restrictions -