U.S. health officials say 4.4 million Americans have received the updated COVID-19 booster shot, the Associated Press reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the count Thursday as public health experts bemoaned President Joe Biden’s recent remark that “the pandemic is over.” The White House said more than 5 million people received the new boosters by its own estimate that accounts for reporting lags in states. Health experts said it is too early to predict whether demand would match up with the 171 million doses of the new boosters the U.S. ordered for the fall. The news comes as U.S. known cases of COVID are continuing to ease, although the true tally is likely higher given how many people are testing at home, where the data are not being collected. The daily average for new cases stood at 55,591 on Thursday, according to a New York Times tracker, down 19% from two weeks ago. The daily average for hospitalizations was down 14% at 30,451, while the daily average for deaths is up 8% to 412. Globally, the confirmed case tally rose above 614.1 million on Friday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins, while the death toll is above 6.53 million with the U.S. leading the world with 95.9 million cases and 1,055,922 deaths.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive a big tranche of student loans after it drew a lawsuit on