Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 262 million as FDA panel to meet on Merck’s antiviral

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 262 million on Monday, while the death toll edged above 5.21 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 48.4 million cases and 778,601 deaths. The U.S. is still averaging more than 880 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, , and cases and hospitalizations are rising again. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said scientists are warning that the current vaccines will likely be less effective against the new omicron variant that was classified one of concern by the WHO on Friday. “I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like, ‘This is not going to be good’,” Bancel told the FT. FDA advisers will meet Tuesday to discuss the antiviral developed by Merck for high-risk patients and vote on whether to recommend it. Antivirals are expected to be a game changer in fighting COVID, as they can be taken at home, while all other existing treatments have to be administered by infusion of subcutaneously in a clinical setting.
India is second by cases after the U.S. at 34.6 million and has suffered 468,980 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 614,376 and 22.1 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities at 269,900 deaths, followed by the U.K. at 145,253.

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