Global Covid-19 caseload tops 242.4 mn

London: The global coronavirus caseload has topped 241.9 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.92 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.73 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Friday morning, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number number of vaccine doses administered stood at 242,449,033, 4,928,934 and 6,733,417,557, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 45,294,293 and 733,064, according to the CSSE.  In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 34,127,450 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,697,341), the UK (8,681,759), Russia (8,005,376), Turkey (7,772,574), France (7,209,126), Iran (5,833,525), Argentina (5,277,525), Spain (4,995,176), Colombia (4,986,249), Italy (4,729,678), Indonesia (4,237,834), Germany (4,435,487) and Mexico (3,767,758), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (604,679), India (452,811), Mexico (285,347), Russia (223,331), Peru (199,945), Indonesia (143,120), the UK (139,562), Italy (131,724), Colombia (126,959), Iran (124,763), France (118,339) and Argentina (115,796).

Meanwhile, the US on Thursday donated its 200 millionth COVID-19 shot to help vaccinate the rest of the world, the White House announced.

The Biden administration aims to lead a global vaccination campaign even as it rolls out boosters for domestic use, which critics say diverts doses from those who are in greater need around the world.

The donated doses include more than 120 million in surplus from the US stockpile of shots, as well as the initial deliveries of the 1 billion doses the Biden administration has purchased from Pfizer for overseas donation by September 2022. More than 100 countries and territories have received the American doses, and the US remains the largest vaccine donor in the world.

These 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have helped bring health and hope to millions of people, but our work is far from over, US Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said in a statement.

To end the pandemic, and prevent the emergence of new variants, as well as future outbreaks within our nation’s borders, we must continue to do our part to help vaccinate the world.” While aid groups have praised the US for leading the world in vaccine donations, they have criticised the US for approving booster doses for use in the country while many people in lower-income nations have no protection at all. The Food and Drug Administration approved booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines Wednesday, following last month’s authorisation of a third dose of the Pfizer shot.

The reality is, the more wealthy countries use booster shots, the further we will be from ending the pandemic,” said Tom Hart, acting CEO of the One Campaign. “While some argue that we can both administer boosters and vaccinate the world, the simple fact is that boosters divert supply from an urgent area of need — administering first shots around the world. While half the planet has been vaccinated, there are massive geographic and wealth disparities. The majority of global shots have been administered in high- and moderate-income countries.