The number of new COVID-19 cases continued to fall last week, with 3.6 million new cases reported globally, down from 4 million new infections the previous week, the World Health Organization said.
Last week’s drop marked the first substantial decline for more than two months, with falling COVID-19 cases in every world region.
In its latest update on the pandemic released on Tuesday, WHO said there were major decreases in cases in two regions: a 22% fall in the Middle East and a 16% drop in Southeast Asia.
The U.N. health agency said there were just under 60,000 deaths in the past week, a 7% decline. It said that while Southeast Asia reported a 30% decrease in COVID-19 deaths, the Western Pacific region reported a 7% increase.
The most new coronavirus cases were seen in the U.S., India, Britain, Turkey and the Philippines.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the seven-day average of new daily cases dropped slightly from an average of 141,000 to about 131,000 between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20 — an indication that the current surge may have peaked. However, daily deaths increased from an average of 1,300 a day to 1,500 a day during that same timespan.
WHO said the faster-spreading delta variant has now been seen in 185 countries and is present in every part of the world.
The organization also revised its list of “variants of interest,” or those that it believes have the potential to cause big outbreaks; WHO said it’s tracking the lambda and mu variants, which both arose in Latin America but have yet to cause widespread epidemics.
WHO has previously said that in all countries where the delta variant is circulating, it has become the predominant virus.