Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center has recorded more than 116 million global coronavirus cases. The U.S. is on the verge of having 30 million infections, followed by India with 11 million and Brazil with 10.8 million.
Earlier this week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had callous words for fellow Brazilians unhappy with the president's response to the pandemic.
"Stop all this fussing and whining," the president said. "How long are you going to keep on crying?" Bolsonaro was speaking in the Brazilian state of Goias, where almost 9,000 people have died.
Only the U.S. has more COVID deaths than Brazil. According to Hopkins, the U.S. has more than 522,000 COVID deaths, while Brazil has reported more than 262,000.
Russia's statistics agency said Friday more than 200,000 Russians diagnosed with COVID-19 have died, more than double the figure used by the government's coronavirus task force.
The figures released Friday from Rosstat, a government agency that releases coronavirus data infrequently, said it had recorded 200,432 deaths through January. Those figures include nearly 70,000 people who had the virus at the time of death, but whose main cause of death was not deemed to be COVID-19.
The tally is significantly more the government's coronavirus task force's data, which had recorded 88,285 deaths as of Friday. The government's task force does not count deaths in which the virus was present but is not ruled the main cause.
Using the figures from Rosstat, Russia would have the third most COVID-19 fatalities in the world, behind only the United States and Brazil.
Rosstat also reported Friday that Russia has recorded 394,000 more deaths since the start of the pandemic until the end of January than in the previous period - suggesting that coronavirus-related deaths in the country could be even higher.
In another development Friday, the World Health Organization said investigators who conducted an inspection in China to determine origins of the COVID-19 virus would release a report on their findings in mid-March.
Peter Ben Embarek, who led the mission, clarified at a regular coronavirus news briefing Friday in Geneva that an interim report would not be released as previously reported.
"To clarify, there was never a plan for an interim report, first of all," Embarek said. "It was hoped we would get a summary report out," but "the director-general [Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] will receive that report from the team in the near future and we will discuss the recommendations."
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday the WHO team decided not to release its interim account "amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington."
Another international group of scientists has called for the WHO to conduct a new inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. The scientists calling for a new probe said in an open letter Thursday that the WHO team "did not have the mandate, the independence, or the necessary accesses to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation."
The scientists also noted in their letter that the WHO investigators in China were accompanied by their Chinese counterparts.
The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
Throughout his term, former U.S. president Donald Trump strongly suggested, without evidence, the coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan laboratory.
A global team of inspectors began its four-week investigation in Wuhan in January and finished it last month.
Italy on Friday surpassed 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The health ministry reported 24,036 new confirmed cases Friday, the third straight day this week that daily new caseloads exceeded 20,000 cases.
The government said it would further tighten coronavirus restrictions in three of its 20 regions after health officials warned of the increase of cases of more contagious variants.
France reported 23,507 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, which is down from the previous week, however officials said the number of people in intensive care with COVID-19 reached its highest level this year.
Canada's drug regulator announced Friday that it had approved Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, the fourth such inoculation to get approval. Canada has also approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Mickey Mouse may once again scamper on Disneyland's streets, according to California officials who said Friday the state's theme and amusement parks could open as early as April 1.
There are, of course, COVID-19 restrictions on the openings. The parks would open under restricted capacity. They would also have to be in a county that is not under certain constraints, designed to slow the coronavirus transmission rate.
A purple county has the most restrictions due to its coronavirus rate of infection, under California's color-code system. Disneyland is in a purple country, but at the present rate of transmission, officials expect the theme park would likely be eligible for reopening sometime in April.