With 38,000+ deaths in the last 2 weeks—double the fatalities in North America—Southeast Asia has emerged as COVID-19’s new regional hotspot, The Guardian reports.
The increase is being driven by Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants; the paucity of vaccines; and the movement of workers between countries, according to a Nature letter to the editor by 4 Mahidol University researchers.
What we know:
- Malaysia reported a record high 22,000 new cases today—bringing the country’s total to 1.5 million, the South China Morning Post reports.
- Hard-hit Indonesia has recorded an average of 1,466 daily deaths over the past week, according to The Guardian.
- While the US, UK, Spain, Germany, and others have fully vaccinated 57% of their populations or higher, coverage is much lower in South East Asia: Vietnam - 2%; Thailand - 7.5%; Indonesia - 10.5%; and Philippines - 11.6%. Malaysia has fully vaccinated more than one third of its population.
- As the virus moves from cities to rural areas, many more deaths are expected, according to Alexander Matheou, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.