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Oct. 12, 2021, 6:27 a.m. EDT

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 238.3 million and Texas Gov. Abbott bans vaccine mandates despite almost 70,000 deaths

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 238.3 million on Tuesday, while the death toll edged closer to 4.86 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 44.5 million cases and 714,060 deaths. The U.S. is averaging more than 1,800 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, , although new cases and hospitalizations are declining. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday to prohibit any entity, including private business, from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on workers and called on state lawmakers to pass a similar ban into law, the Associated Press reported. The move comes as the administration of President Joe Biden gears up to issue rules requiring employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or test weekly for the coronavirus. It also comes as many European countries use mandates to up their vaccination rates. Several major companies, including Texas-based American Airlines (NAS:AAL) and Southwest Airlines (NYS:LUV) , have said they would abide by the federal mandate. Texas has suffered 68,057 COVID deaths so far, and more than 4.1 million Texans have been infected with the illness. The state has fully vaccinated just 52% of its population, leaving the rest vulnerable to a preventable death. India is second by cases after the U.S. at 33.9 million and has suffered 450,963 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 601,213 and 21.6 million cases. In Europe, Russia has most fatalities at 214,476, followed by the U.K. at 138,167.

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