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March 5, 2021, 10:57 a.m. EST

U.S. COVID-19 death toll tops 520,000 as Dr. Fauci cautions against reopening too soon

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Ciara Linnane

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See:   Lies, disinformation and conspiracy theories are increasingly being embraced as acceptable political strategy, AP investigation finds

• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers, healthcare providers and others that improper use of the thermal imaging systems may provide inaccurate temperature readings and warned against companies that are illegally offering them for sale. The regulator has sent warning letters to certain companies that are offering unapproved, uncleared and unauthorized systems for sale. “While thermal imaging is not an effective diagnostic device for COVID-19, it can determine if someone has an elevated temperature, which can be an important risk management tool during the pandemic when used properly,” said William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer and director of the Office of Product Evaluation and Quality in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “But improper use and marketing of thermal imaging systems may lead to inaccurate temperature readings and pose a potential danger to public health.

See now: Italy’s ban on AstraZeneca exports to Australia raises fears of vaccine nationalism

• The World Health Organization said that it has now delivered more than 11 million vaccine doses to 11 countries in Africa through its Covax program, which aims to ensure poorer countries get vaccines and that richer countries don’t end up hogging them all.

Latest tallies

The global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 115.6 million Friday, the Johns Hopkins data shows, and the death toll climbed above 2.56 million.

At least 65 million people have recovered from COVID.

Brazil has the second highest death toll at 260,970 and is third by cases at 10.8 million.

India is second worldwide in cases with 11.2 million, and fourth in deaths at 157,548.

Mexico has the third highest death toll at 188,866 and 13th highest case tally at 2.1 million.

The U.K. has 4.2 million cases and 124,259 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

China,  where the virus was first discovered late last year,  has had 101,066 confirmed cases and 4,837 deaths, according to its official numbers.

What’s the economy saying?

The U.S. created 379,000 new jobs in February—the biggest gain in four months—in what’s likely to be a preview of a surge in hiring in the months ahead as most people get vaccinated and the economy fully reopens, MarketWatch’s Jeffry Bartash reported.

The increase in hiring last month was concentrated at businesses such as restaurants, retailers, hotels and entertainment venues as states eased restrictions on customer limits and public gatherings. Most other industries also added workers.

Hiring was also much stronger in January than initially reported.

See:  A visual look at how an unfair pandemic has reshaped work and home

The official unemployment rate, meanwhile, slipped to 6.2% from 6.3%, although economists widely believe the real rate is much higher.

Federal Reserve officials peg the jobless rate at closer to 10% after adjusting the data for distortions caused by the pandemic.

The rebound in job creation in February is likely the start of a major new cycle of hiring. Warmer weather, falling coronavirus cases, rising vaccinations and another massive increase in federal stimulus are likely to act as jet fuel for the economy in the spring and summer, Wall Street pros and Fed officials say.

Read:  Inflation worries are back. Should you worry?

The increase in new jobs easily exceeded Wall Street expectations. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast 210,000 new jobs.

“With vaccine distribution continuing to accelerate and with the economy in the initial stages of a reopening, the coming months should see robust gains,” said chief economist Curt Long of the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions.

Don’t miss: ‘Green shoots of recovery’- economists react to January U.S. jobs report

Also: U.S. trade deficit widens in January

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.06% and the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.49% were both higher Friday.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
34,382.13
+360.68 +1.06%
Volume: 307.38M
May 14, 2021 5:02p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
4,173.85
+61.35 +1.49%
Volume: 1.91B
May 14, 2021 5:02p
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