Ebb and flow: continents weather a year of pandemic waves

·3-min read

The world's regions have seen flare-ups and periods of relief from Covid-19 since the outbreak was declared a pandemic one year ago.

Here is a look at how infections and deaths rose and fell across regions over the past year.

- Europe second wave worse -

Europe's first wave claims an average of up to 4,100 lives each day between March and May, but subsides within a matter of months, with the toll dropping below 1,000 deaths per day before June and staying relatively low through August.

The region, including Russia and Turkey, sees a much longer and more intense wave of coronavirus from November 17 until February 11 with at least 4,500 lives lost each day and a peak one-day toll of over 5,700 deaths in mid-January.

By March 10, daily deaths drop to around 3,000. Overall in Europe, more than 900,000 people have died and 40 million cases have been detected since the pandemic began.

- Half a million Americans dead -

With more than 29 million cases and half a million dead in total, the United States is by far the country with the most coronavirus victims.

From New York City's first devastating outbreak in April 2020, infections flare across the country to a peak of more than 23,000 deaths and 1.8 million new cases in a single week in January 2021.

The US manages to turn things around by March, halving the peak death toll and seeing its weekly number of infections by 20 percent this week compared to the previous seven days.

- Latin America submerged -

Latin America, including Mexico, surpasses Europe as the most affected region in terms of virus deaths in June 2020 with a peak of over 2,500 victims daily -- around 1,000 in Brazil alone, the worst affected country after the US.

An even more deadly wave ravages the region starting in December and reaching a mid-January peak of 120,000 new cases and 3,400 deaths each day.

- Oceania success, Africa unknowns -

Africa has been relatively spared since the start of the pandemic despite several waves of infections, particularly in South Africa, the continent's worst-affected country.

Some 300 deaths and 10,000 cases are recorded across the region each day, although differences in data collection and testing methods raise questions about the accuracy of these numbers.

Oceania is the least-affected continent. At the peak of the region's biggest wave in August, only 20 or so deaths and a few hundred cases are reported each day.

- Middle East and Asia stabilise -

In Asia, strict containment measures seem to have paid off.

China is now only officially declaring isolated cases of coronavirus. India is recording an average of about 100 deaths daily compared to an average of 1,000 deaths and 100,000 new cases daily between July and November.

Across the continent some 500 deaths are being reported daily.

Daily average new cases in the Middle East hover around 30,000. Daily deaths peaked at more than 600 at the start of November and have stabilised at between 200 and 300 since the start of 2021.

Israel boasts the world's most advanced inoculation campaign with almost half its citizens already fully vaccinated, and has seen impressive drops in infections and deaths.

In the last week, just 139 people died of the virus in Israel, a fall of nearly 30 percent compared to the previous week and far from the 433 deaths recorded there in the last week of January.