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Coronavirus update: Global death toll surpasses 5 million

Moderna shots for teens are being put on hold

COVID-19 germ concept
Photo (c) Andriy Onufriyenko - Getty Images
Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 46,006,251 (45,963,579)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 746,289 (745,080)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 246,929,884 (246,633,898)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,003,404 (4,998, 731)‌

Global death toll tops 5 million

The number of people who have died from COVID-19 complications rose above the 5 million mark over the weekend, according to the unofficial count maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States continues to lead the world in the number of deaths, with more than 746,000. Brazil is second with 608,000 deaths and India is third with 459,000 fatalities.

According to Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 Tracking Project, there have been 247 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began in early 2020. The 28-day average of cases is 11.7 million, and the 28-day average of COVID-19 deaths is 197,000.

Moderna vaccine use for teens put on hold

Moderna has disclosed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs more time to determine whether its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for use on teens. The FDA is investigating whether there is an unacceptable risk of myocarditis in the 12 to 17 age group.

In a statement, the pharmaceutical company, which makes one of the three approved vaccines used in the U.S., said the FDA review would likely not be completed before January 2022.  Myocarditis is a condition that affects the heart. 

“The company is fully committed to working closely with the FDA to support their review and is grateful to the FDA for their diligence,” Moderna said in a statement.

New York City workers face a deadline today

For thousands of New York City employees, today is D-Day -- the deadline for meeting the city’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Thousands of unvaccinated employees are expected to be placed on unpaid leave.

According to WABC-TV, vaccination rates on Sunday night stood at 84% for the city’s police department, 82% for the Department of Sanitation, and 80% for the New York Fire Department. The fire department has already closed some stations because of staff shortages.

At an early morning news conference today, officials of the union representing firefighters complained about a lack of time afforded to members to get vaccinated. Union leaders also denied a claim by city officials that firefighters have engaged in a sick-out.

Around the nation

  • Texas: State universities have billions of dollars at stake as a vaccination mandate deadline approaches. Administrators face a Dec. 8 deadline to impose a Biden administration vaccination mandate or lose federal contracts. The state of Texas, meanwhile, has ordered colleges not to impose a vaccine mandate.

  • New York: Thousands of people crowded into Greenwich Village on Sunday night for New York City’s Halloween parade. The New York Post reports that many of the costumes had a COVID-19 theme. The annual event was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

  • Iowa: Gov. Kim Reynolds has joined a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration vaccination mandate, saying she opposes government orders to be vaccinated. “I’ve been vaccinated,” she said. “We continue to encourage (vaccinations). It’s our best defense in addressing Covid-19 and the Delta variant, but I believe that is a personal choice.”

  • Louisiana: An appeals court has blocked Ochsner Health, the state’s largest hospital system, from enforcing its vaccination mandate for employees. “This ruling is inconsistent with established Louisiana law as well as with decisions of courts across the country upholding COVID-19 vaccine mandates,” Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas said in a statement.

  • Maryland: A 25-year-old Maryland man faces up to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to a fake COVID-19 vaccine scheme. Federal authorities say Odunayo “Baba” Oluwalade conspired with others to market a fake vaccine before the actual vaccines were approved.

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