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Aug. 3, 2021, 6:57 a.m. EDT

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 near 199 million , CDC urges vaccination against 'highly contagious' delta variant

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By Ciara Linnane

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness headed above 198.9 million on Tuesday, while the death toll climbed above 4.23 million according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. leads the world with a total of 35.1 million cases and in deaths with 613,679 as the highly infectious delta variant continues to spread fast, especially in states with low vaccination rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday the delta variant is "highly contagious" and urged unvaccinated people to get their shots and for employers to require vaccination. "The delta variant is highly contagious," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the briefing. "To put this in perspective: if you get sick with the alpha variant, you could infect about two other unvaccinated people. If you get sick with the delta variant, we estimate that you can infect about five other unvaccinated people - more than twice as many as the original strain." India is second by cases at 31.7 million and third by deaths at 425,195 according to its official numbers, which are expected to be undercounted. Brazil is second in deaths at 557,223, but is third in cases at 19.9 million. Mexico has fourth-highest death toll at 241,279 but has recorded just 2.9 million cases, according to its official numbers. In Europe, Russia continues to pull ahead of the U.K. by deaths at 158,263, while the U.K. has 130,039, making Russia the country with the fifth-highest death toll in the world and highest in Europe.

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