US Tops 700,000 COVID Deaths

The United States has surpassed 700,000 deaths from COVID-19, the highest of any country.

The U.S. recorded 700,258 deaths Friday evening, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Brazil has the second-highest number of deaths, with 597,255. India has 448,339; Mexico, 277,507; and Russia, 204,424, according to Johns Hopkins. Globally, nearly 4.8 million people have died from COVID-19.

U.S. health officials say cases have been declining across the United States in recent weeks. However, while the latest wave of COVID-19 has peaked across the country as a whole, some states, especially in the North, are seeing case numbers rise.

In other developments in the U.S., California became the first state to announce a vaccine mandate for schoolchildren once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves COVID-19 vaccines for younger age groups.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been fully approved for people age 16 and older and cleared for emergency use in children ages 12-15.

Once the vaccine is fully approved for the younger age group, California will mandate it for students in seventh through 12th grades.

After it is approved for anyone 5 and older, the state will mandate the vaccine for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Students will be granted exemptions for religious and medical reasons.

In Washington, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh tested positive for COVID-19, despite having been vaccinated. The court said the 54-year-old justice had no symptoms.

The positive test forced Kavanaugh to miss Friday’s ceremonial swearing in for Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed to the court last year by former President Donald Trump. Her ceremony was delayed because of the pandemic.

In other court news, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied an emergency appeal from a group of New York City schoolteachers seeking to block the city’s vaccine mandate for school staff.

The ruling means the vaccine mandate can go forward. Under its rules, the city’s school employees had until 5 p.m. Friday to get at least their first vaccine shot.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press. 

 

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