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Workers bury the bodies of COVID-19 victims on Wednesday at the Pedurenan public cemetery in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, which is facing a surge in pandemic cases and deaths. Photo: Rezas/AFP via Getty Images

The global toll of confirmed deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 4 million on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

Why it matters: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted at a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday the "shocking inequity" in vaccine rollouts, with richer countries hoarding does as he warned the world "is at a perilous point" of the pandemic.

"We have just passed the tragic milestone of 4 million recorded COVID-19 deaths, which likely underestimates the overall toll."
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Driving the news: Some countries with high vaccination coverage are "relaxing as though the pandemic is already over" by easing health measures and keeping extra doses for themselves, per Tedros.

  • "This is leading to an acute shortage of oxygen, treatments and driving a wave of death in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America," he said.
  • The highly infectious Delta variant is spreading even in countries with high vaccination rates, including the U.S., Israel and the U.K.

Of note: The British government plans to lift most coronavirus restrictions on July 19, despite the U.K. recording over 30,000 new cases in one day this week "for the first time since January," AP notes.

Yes, but: "With the advent of the vaccine, deaths per day have plummeted to around 7,900, after topping out at over 18,000 a day in January," AP reports.

Go deeper: 2021 already has a higher global coronavirus death toll than 2020

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - Health

FDA panel unanimously endorses Moderna boosters for certain populations

A pharmacist prepares to give a COVID-19 booster vaccination. Photo: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Thursday endorsed boosters for Moderna recipients who are at high risk of severe COVID-19, occupational exposure to COVID-19 or are 65 years and older.

Why it matters: The unanimous decision mirrors the FDA conditions for those who qualify for a Pfizer booster.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

7 mins ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.