The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 242 million on Wednesday, while the death toll edged above 4.92 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 45.2 million cases and 731,265 deaths. The U.S. is averaging more than 1,500 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, although cases and hospitalizations are declining. U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially, the Associated Press reported.The agency's decisions mark a big step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign, which began with extra doses of the Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.62% vaccine last month. But before more people roll up their sleeves, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consult an expert panel Thursday before finalizing official recommendations for who should get boosters and when. India is second by cases after the U.S. at 34.1 million and has suffered 452,811 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 604,228 and 21.7 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities at 223,331 deaths, followed by the U.K. at 139,444.