The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness edged close to 159 million on Tuesday, 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 32.7 million cases and 582,162 deaths, or about a fifth of the worldwide tallies.
India is second to the U.S. by cases at 22.7 million and third by fatalities at 246,116. The crisis in India continues a day after the World Health Organization said the double-mutant variant that first emerged there is a "variant of concern" and is likely far more transmissible than the original virus. Called the B.1.627 variant, it has two spike proteins instead of one. There was good news on the vaccine front when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization granted to the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc.

and German partner BioNTech SE

for use in 12- to 15-year-olds.
Brazil is third with 15.2 million cases and second by fatalities at 423,229. Mexico has the fourth-highest death toll at 219,098 and 2.4 million cases, or 15th highest tally. The U.K. has 4.5 million cases and 127,870 deaths, the fifth-highest in the world and highest in Europe.

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