GENEVA - The number of people killed by the coronavirus surged by more than 40% last week, likely due to changes in how COVID-19 deaths were reported across the Americas and by newly adjusted figures from India, according to a World Health Organization report released Wednesday.In its latest weekly report on the pandemic, the U.N.
health agency said the number of new coronavirus cases fell everywhere, including in WHO's Western Pacific region, where they had been rising since December.About 10 million new COVID-19 infections and more than 45,000 deaths were reported worldwide over the past week, following a 23% drop in fatalities the week before.The jump in reported deaths, up from 33,000 last week, was due mainly to an accounting change; WHO noted that countries including Chile and the United States altered how they define COVID-19 deaths.In addition, more than 4,000 deaths from Maharashtra state in India that initially weren't included among the COVID-19 death toll were added last week, according to WHO.WHO has said repeatedly that COVID-19 case counts are likely a vast underestimate of the coronavirus’ prevalence.
The agency cautioned countries in recent weeks against dropping their comprehensive testing and other surveillance measures, saying that doing so would cripple efforts to accurately track the spread of the virus."Data are becoming progressively less representative, less timely and less robust," WHO said. "This inhibits our collective ability to track where the virus is, how it is spreading and how it is evolving: information and analyses that remain critical to effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic."The agency warned that less surveillance would particularly harm efforts to detect new COVID.