Sept. 1, 2021, 6:25 a.m. EDT

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 217.7 million and WHO says Mu variant is now one of interest and will be tracked

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 217.7 million on Wednesday, while the death toll rose to 4.52 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. leads the world with a total of 39.2 million cases and 6340,109 deaths. The daily average of new cases over the past seven days rose to 160,041 as of Tuesday, up 14% from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker . The daily average for deaths increased to 1,346 up 93% in two weeks, and is continued to trend above 1,000 to match the levels seen in March. The daily average for hospitalizations rose to 100,868, up 19% from two weeks ago and continuing to trend at the highest levels since winter. The World Health Organization said the Mu variant, or B.1.621, first detected in Colombia in January, has become a "variant of interest" and has "a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape." In its weekly epidemiological update, the agency said further studies are needed and it will be monitoring Mu, which is in 39 countries. India has the second highest death toll after the U.S. at 439,020 and is third by cases at 32.8 million, the JHU data shows. Brazil has second highest death toll at 580,413 and has 20.8 million cases. In Europe, Russia has 180,781 deaths, followed by the U.K. with 132,859.

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