U.S. surpasses 700,000 COVID-19 deaths

U.S. COVID-19 medic

U.S. Covid-19 death toll passes 700,000

The United States surpassed 700,000 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, with Brazil and India not too far behind.

While Brazil has recorded 597,255 deaths, the world’s second highest fatalities, India has logged 448,605.

Mexico and Russia have also recorded high death toll. Mexico has 277,000 and Russia 208,000.

The United States also leads the world in confirmed cases, with 44,406,993 cases, out of the global total of over 235,000,000 as at Friday afternoon, according to worldometers data.

The U.S. reached the fatality milestone as officials roll out booster doses of vaccines to protect the elderly and people working in high-risk professions.

The country has reported an average of more than 2,000 deaths per day over the past week, which represents about 60% of the peak in fatalities in January, a tally by Reuters has shown.

Globally, the pandemic will soon surpass 5 million deaths.

The highly transmissible Delta variant has driven a surge in COVID-19 cases that peaked around mid-September before falling to the current level of about 117,625 cases per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

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That is still well above the 10,000 cases a day that top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said needs to be reached to end the health crisis.

While national hospitalisation numbers have fallen in recent weeks, some states, particularly in the south of the country, are bucking that trend to record big rises, putting pressure on healthcare systems.

On Friday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the country has administered 393,756,866 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 477,069,555 doses.

Those figures are up from the 392,909,995 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Thursday out of 474,245,945 doses delivered.

The agency said 214,597,690 people had received at least one dose while 184,852,416 people had been fully vaccinated as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Friday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.

About 4.36 million people have received an additional dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine since Aug. 13.

This was when the U.S. authorised a third dose of the vaccines for people with compromised immune systems who are likely to have weaker protection from the two-dose regimens.