The global tally of confirmed cases of the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 has climbed above 144 million, as India remained the world’s hotspot with daily cases rising to a world record of nearly 315,000, and as new cases in the U.S. climbed back above 60,000.
Meanwhile, as the U.S. has already reached President Biden’s updated goal of 200 million vaccine doses administered by this 100th day in office more than a week ahead of schedule, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on NBC’s “Today” that she was “really hopeful” that the pause on Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ, -0.36% vaccine will be lifted soon.
India has recorded 314,835 new COVID cases on Thursday, up from 295,041 on Wednesday, according to data provided by Times of India. That breaks the world record the U.S. set on Jan. 8, when it recorded 300,669 new cases, according to a New York Times tracker.
That brings India’s total cases to 15.93 million, second most in the world, and now about half of the U.S. total of 31.87 million cases, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
India’s death toll reached 184,657, but that is fourth in the world, behind Mexico in third with 213,597, Brazil in second with 381,475 deaths and the U.S. in first with 569,518 deaths.
In the U.S., there were at least 64,853 new COVID cases on Wednesday, up from 58,783 cases the day before, according to New York Times data. The daily average over the past week was 62,956, down 4% from the average two weeks ago.
There were at least 879 deaths on Wednesday, up from 792 on Tuesday, bringing the weekly average to 720 deaths per day.
The latest data showed that the seven-day average of hospitalizations was 45,857, up from 44,092 the week before.
On the bright side, only seven U.S. states showed increases in the weekly trend of new cases, according to JHU data, down from 36 states the week before. And 27 states were showing declines in the weekly trend of cases, up from 8 the week before.
On the vaccine front, 277.84 million doses have been delivered to states and 215.95 million doses have been administered, according to the latest CDC data. People who have received at least one dose rose to 134.45 million, or 40.5% of the total U.S. population, while 87.59 million people, or 26.4% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.
The vaccines developed by Moderna Inc. MRNA, +3.40% and Pfizer Inc. PFE, -1.29% and BioNTech SE BNTX, +6.32% require two doses to be fully vaccinated, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one does.
Use of J&J’s vaccine has been temporarily halted since last week after it was linked to very rare incidents of severe blood clots. A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is meeting Friday to evaluate the risks versus the benefits of the vaccine.
“We need to make a decision quickly and I’m really hopeful that we’ll be able to use the vaccine soon,” CDC Director Walensky said on “Today.”
European regulators said earlier this week that the overall benefits of J&J’s vaccine outweigh the “very rare side effects,” and J&J said it will resume shipments to Europe with updated information on the diagnosis and management of the “rare adverse event.”
Regarding questions about virus transmission, Walensky said that the latest studies have showed most people who are vaccinated aren’t getting the virus at all. And for the vaccinated people who do get the virus, about one-third “are completely asymptomatic and many of them have such low virus that they can’t transmit to others.”
She recommended, however, that vaccinated people still wear masks, even when outside, until there is more data and more people get vaccinated.
Total global COVID-19 cases rose to 144.03 million on Thursday, as deaths increased to 3,062,087, according to JHU data.
The U.S. was still by far the world leader, with 31.87 million cases, or 22.1% of the global total, and 569,518 deaths, or 18.6% of the worldwide total.
After India in second, Brazil was third in cases at 14.12 million and second in death. Mexico, which was third in deaths, was 15th in cases at 2.32 million.
The United Kingdom, which is fifth worldwide and led Europe with 127,579 deaths, was sixth in cases at 4.41 million.
China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 102,314 confirmed cases and 4,845 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively under-reported.