The United States has passed 700,000 deaths from COVID-19, the most of any country.
The US recorded 700,258 deaths on Friday evening, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Brazil has the highest number of deaths with 597,255. India has 448,339; Mexico, 277,507; and Russia, 204,424, according to Johns Hopkins. Globally, around 4.8 million people have died from COVID-19.
US health officials say cases across the United States have decreased in recent weeks. However, while the latest wave of COVID-19 is peaking across the country, some states, especially in the north, are seeing a rise in the number of cases.
In other developments in the US, California became the first state to announce a vaccine mandate for school children, when the Food and Drug Administration formally approved COVID-19 vaccines for younger age groups.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is fully approved for people 16 years of age and older and for emergency use in children 12-15 years old.
Once the vaccine is fully approved for the younger age group, California will make it mandatory for students in grades 7 through 12.
Once approved for anyone age 5 and older, the state will make the vaccine mandatory for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
Students will be exempted for religious and medical reasons.
In Washington, US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh tested positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated. The court said the 54-year-old judge had no symptoms.
The positive test forced Kavanaugh to miss Friday’s formal swearing-in for Justice Amy Connie Barrett, who was appointed to court last year by former President Donald Trump. His ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic.
In other court news, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the emergency appeal of a group of New York City schoolteachers seeking to block the city’s vaccine mandate for school workers.
The ruling means the vaccine mandate could go ahead. Under its rules, the city’s school workers had until 5 p.m. Friday to get at least their first vaccine shot.
Some information in this report has been obtained from The Associated Press.