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Worldwide COVID death toll tops 3 million: Johns Hopkins University

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The global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 3 million people Saturday as confirmed cases surge to over 140 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The somber milestones arise at a time when vaccine distribution efforts have stumbled after concerns over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, where we have proven control measures,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, one of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) leaders on COVID-19.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided Thursday to forgo a vote regarding guidance on the jab after it recommended a pause on using the J&J vaccine following six cases of a rare, severe blood clot reported among nearly 7 million recipients.

The vaccination effort had started to hit a stride, surpassing President Biden’s original goal of 100 million jabs in his first 100 days in office. Approximately 66 million Americans had been fully vaccinated as of April 8 — just shy of 20% of the total population.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he hopes the CDC will soon announce new guidance regarding the J&J vaccine so that distribution can continue. 

Vaccination campaigns had only just started in the U.S. and Europe back in January when the world crossed the threshold of 2 million deaths, but today more than 190 countries are pushing through the process.

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That process is similarly plagued by issues with vaccine development: China health officials announced last week that vaccines developed by Sinovac and Sinopharm “don’t have very high protective rates.”

The vaccines had already been exported to 22 countries, including Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil — some of the current hot spots of the pandemic.

Brazil is the third-hardest hit nation in the world, with around 13.8 million confirmed cases; however, it has recorded 368,749 deaths — the second-most worldwide.

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At least one WHO official referred to Brazil’s crises as a “raging inferno.”

Global deaths have hit a running average of 12,000 per day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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