March 30 (UPI) — The World Health Organization said in a report Wednesday that COVID-19 deaths climbed by more than 40% last week — but the surge is likely due to reporting changes rather than any medical reasons.
Last week, the number of global cases increased by about 10 million and the death count rose by 45,000, the WHO said in its report. The week before, COVID-19-related deaths worldwide fell by more than 20%.
Despite a rise in deaths, the United Nations health agency said that the global case count declined by about 13%.
The organization said that the rise in deaths is due mostly to a change in the way figures are reported in the Americas and adjusted counts in India.
The WHO also noted in its report that cases in the western Pacific are down. The region, until now, has seen rising case numbers for about four months.
“Between the end of January and early March, there was a consistent decreasing trend in the number of new COVID-19 cases, which was followed by two consecutive weeks of increase in cases,” the WHO said in a statement.
“The number of new weekly deaths … [was] driven by changes in the definition of COVID-19 deaths in countries in the Region of the Americas (Chile and the United States of America) and retrospective adjustments reported from India in the South-East Asia Region.”
In its update, the WHO said that the global tally in COVID-19 cases is almost 482 million. There have been more than 6.1 million virus-related deaths. More than 11 billion vaccine doses have been given worldwide, it noted.
In the United States, CDC data show a 30% decrease in the 7-day average for deaths. A total of 972,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States.
The WHO report came on the same day U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration launched a new website — COVID.gov — that compiles federal tools to fight the virus.
“With a click of a button, people will be able to find where to access all of these tools, as well as receive the latest CDC data on the level of COVID-19 in their community,” the White House said.