The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 262.9 million on Tuesday, 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 48.6 million cases and 780,233 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. The CDC is expected to toughen testing rules for travelers to the U.S. in the light of the new omicron variant, and may mandate a PCR test 24 hours before departure, the New York Times reported. Right now, travelers can take a PCR test up to three days before a flight. Separately, an FDA advisory panel voted that the benefits of Merck & Co.'s /zigman2/quotes/209956077/composite MRK -0.29% experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill outweigh its risks in a 13-10 vote, with several advisers saying they had concerns about use of the drug in pregnant women. 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 469,247 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 614,681 and 22.1 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities at 271,091 deaths, followed by the U.K. at 145,414.
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