Coronavirus cases falling globally, while number of tests also declines

The number of newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus is on a global downward trend. But the World Health Organization says this trend should be viewed with caution as the number of tests performed is also declining.

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the number of cases has surged every time a new and contagious variant emerged. Case numbers grew at an unprecedented pace after November 2021 with the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Data from Johns Hopkins University in the United States show that the peak of daily new infections before the spread of Omicron were marked in April 2021, with about 900,000 cases.

But in mid-January of this year, the number of confirmed new cases per day topped 4 million.

Global infection numbers have generally been on a downward trend since then.

From May, new cases have remained at less than 800,000. On some days, the daily tally stood at around 270,000, or about one-fifteenth of the peak figures.

Data compiled by Our World in Data, a website run by researchers from Britain's University of Oxford and others, show high booster vaccination rates in Europe.

As of May 31, the rate was 65.1 percent in Germany, 58.2 percent in Britain, 56.9 percent in France and 52.7 percent across the European Union.

But the website says less than 20 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

The website says 31.1 percent of people in the United States have received booster shots.

But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in April that nearly 60 percent of the country's population is estimated to have been infected by the coronavirus. This was based on analysis of blood samples from roughly 46,000 Americans.

Professor Hamada Atsuo of Tokyo Medical University attributes the global downward trend to more people being vaccinated or acquiring immunity through infection, mainly in industrialized nations.

In its recent weekly epidemiological updates, the WHO says the fall in global new cases should be interpreted with caution.

It says, "Several countries have been progressively changing COVID-19 testing strategies, resulting in lower overall numbers of tests performed and consequently lower numbers of cases detected."