The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 244.6 million on Wednesday, while the death toll edged above 4.96 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 45.6 million cases and 738,883 deaths. The U.S. is averaging more than 1,400 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, although cases and hospitalizations are declining. A group of scientists who advise the Food and Drug Administration said the benefits of the Pfizer/BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.62% /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -3.55% vaccine outweigh the risks for children between the ages of 5 and 11. The 17-0 vote in favor of the vaccine puts the U.S. one step closer to the first authorization of a shot for this age group. One member abstained. The next step is the FDA's decision. The regulator is not required to follow the recommendation of the committee, but it often does. The final regulatory stamp of approval has to come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is set to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday, and the CDC director herself. India is second by cases after the U.S. at 34.2 million and has suffered 455,653 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 606,646 and 21.7 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities at 229,672 deaths, followed by the U.K. at 140,253.