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Today’s In Crisis headlines

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(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

Unemployment claims in US better than expected, but still high

The number jobless claim fell to its lowest figure since late November, the Labor Department said Thursday, but still remained above any number seen before the pandemic.

Applications for unemployment benefits were at a seasonally adjusted 730,000, down 111,000 from the previous week.

Before the pandemic, jobless claims had never topped 700,000 – not even during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009.

According to today’s latest numbers 19,042,686, people are claiming unemployment through all government programs.

Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 112,660,503
Global deaths: 2,499,552.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 505,944.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192
Total patients recovered globally: 63,585,142

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 28,336,780 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 505,944.  California has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 50,994.
U.S. total people tested: 344,152,556

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,549,092 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks second in the world after England, which has 3,630,729 cases.  Texas is third, with 2,625,123 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 88,669,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 66,464,947 doses have been administered, with 45,237,143 people receiving one or more doses, and 20,607,261 people receiving two doses. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, which are the two most prevalent in the U.S., each require two doses to be effective.

Pfizer/BioNTech testing third booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech announced this morning that they are beginning testing on a third booster shot for the COVID-19 vaccine.

They will start offering a third dose to 144 clinical trial participants in order to understand the effect of a booster on immunity against the virus and its variants.

“While we have not seen any evidence that the circulating variants result in a loss of protection provided by our vaccine, we are taking multiple steps to act decisively and be ready in case a strain becomes resistant to the protection afforded by the vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer.

“This booster study is critical to understanding the safety of a third dose and immunity against circulating strains,” he added. “At the same time, we are making the right investments and engaging in the appropriate conversations with regulators to help position us to potentially develop and seek authorization for an updated mRNA vaccine or booster if needed.”

Moderna, the maker of the other COVID-19 vaccine being administered in the U.S., announced similar plans to test a booster shot on Wednesday.

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