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Nov. 16, 2021, 6:46 a.m. EST

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 near 254 million and Arkansas is latest state to expand booster program

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By Ciara Linnane

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 253.9 million on Tuesday, while the death toll edged above 5.11 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 47.2 million cases and 764,365 deaths. The U.S. is still averaging more than 1,100 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, although cases and hospitalizations are declining, outside of hot spots that include Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico. Arkansas has joined Colorado, California and New Mexico in expanding its vaccine booster program, moving ahead of federal regulators who are close to making a decision on the issue, the New York Times reported. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the news at a briefing on Monday, saying all adults in the state would be eligible to get boosters, as long as they comply with timing rules relating to primary doses. Experts are concerned that cases may rise again during the cold winter months if people gather indoors in large numbers. India is second by cases after the U.S. at 34.5 million and has suffered 463,852 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 611,346 and 21.9 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities at 253,009 deaths, followed by the U.K. at 143,384.

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