The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 159.7 million on Wednesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 3.3 million. The U.S. continues to lead the world in cases and deaths by wide margins, with 32.8 million cases and 582,848 deaths, or about a fifth of the worldwide tallies.
India is second to the U.S. by cases at 23.3 million and third by fatalities at 254,197 The World Health Organization said late Tuesday that the double-mutant variant that first emerged there is likely far more transmissible than any other variant but without greater genomic sequencing, it was impossible to be sure, the New York Times reported. Called the B.1.627 variant, it has two spike proteins instead of one. India counted more than 360,000 new cases on Wednesday and 4,200 deaths, the most since the start of the pandemic. Experts say the true numbers are likely far higher, given the stress on India's healthcare system. .
Brazil is third with 15.3 million cases and second by fatalities at 425,540. Mexico has the fourth-highest death toll at 219,323 and 2.4 million cases, or 15th highest tally. The U.K. has 4.5 million cases and 127,890 deaths, the fifth-highest in the world and highest in Europe.