COVID-19 cases on the rise around the globe, World Health Organization reports

The WHO's weekly report indicates that cases of the virus are again on the rise.
An at-home COVID test.

The number of new coronavirus cases globally rose by 18% last week, as more than 4.1 million cases were reported, according to the World Health Organization. 

The number of deaths due to the virus remained relatively constant with the week prior at about 8,500, said the agency in its most recent weekly report. 

Deaths due to the virus primarily rose in three regions – the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

The biggest weekly rise in cases was recorded in the Middle East, where they increased by 47%. Europe and Southeast Asia saw a 32% rise in infection level, and the Americas reported a 14% rise. 

The rise, according to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus occurred in 110 countries and is being driven mostly by the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants.

The pandemic, he said, "is changing, but it's not over."

Ghebreyesus also said that as countries relax their surveillance of the virus, the ability to track its evolution has become more limited. And he argued about what he considers the global inequity of vaccine accessibility.

"If rich countries are vaccinating children from as young as 6 months old and planning to do further rounds of vaccination, it is incomprehensible to suggest that lower-income countries should not vaccinate and boost their most at risk (people)," he also said.

Earlier this month, the United States authorized COVID-19 vaccines for infants and children in preschool. The country is aiming to immunize 18 million of the country's youngest children. Regulators are also suggesting that some adults receive updated booster shots this fall that could better fight new variants of the virus.