The World Health Organization said omicron and its descendent lineages are still dominant globally, but have declined in relative prevalence. In the week through Jan. 22, they accounted for 53.9% prevalence among sequences submitted to a central database, down from 74.2% in the week through Dec. 25. Pooled recombinant variant sequences rose to 24.6% from 8.8%, mostly due to XBB.1.5, which is dominant in the U.S. where most sequences were reported, the agency said in its weekly epidemiological update.
The news comes as the seven-day average of new U.S. COVID cases stood at 39,978 on Wednesday, according to a New York Times tracker. That’s down 15% from two weeks ago. The daily average for hospitalizations was down 17% at 29,358. The average for deaths was 460, down 16% from two weeks ago. The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 67231 million on Thursday, while the death toll rose above 6.84 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with 102.7 million cases and 1,113,236 fatalities.