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Oct. 2, 2021, 9:37 a.m. EDT

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 234 million and U.S. death toll passes 700,000

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By Ciara Linnane

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 234 million on Saturday, while the death toll rose above 4.79 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 43.6 million cases and 700,327 deaths, after passing 700,000 overnight. The U.S. is now averaging almost 2,000 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, , a slight improvement over recent trends and new cases and hospitalizations are declining. There was positive news from Merck /zigman2/quotes/209956077/composite MRK +0.80% and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Friday that the the oral antiviral they developed as a treatment for COVID-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in at risk adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID by about 50% in an interim analysis of data from a Phase 3 trial. Some 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization, compared with 14.1% of patients given a placebo. The companies will submit an application for an emergency use authorization to the FDA and other regulators. India is second by cases after the U.S. at 33.8 million and has suffered 448,573 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 597,255 and 21.4 million cases. In Europe, Russia has most fatalities at 205,297, followed by the U.K. at 137,171.

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