US figure reached as President Donald Trump signed executive actions extending economic help in the world’s worst-hit nation

Tolls continue to rise across the world, with global fatalities having now soared past 723,000

The United States has reached another grim coronavirus milestone with more than 5 million people now infected, according to Johns Hopkins University tally, after the country’s top infectious diseases official offered hope that an effective vaccine might be available by year-end.

With one out of every 66 residents infected, the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases. The country has recorded more than 160,000 deaths, nearly a quarter of the world’s total.

The announcement followed President Donald Trump’s decision to

intended to provide economic relief to Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic after the White House failed to reach a deal with Congress.

On Friday, the US Labour Department reported that US employment growth slowed considerably in July, underscoring an urgent need for additional government aid.

Dr Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said there could be at least one vaccine that works and is safe by year-end. But Trump offered a more optimistic view, saying it was possible the United States would have a coronavirus vaccine by the time of the November 3 presidential election.

Meanwhile just a day after Latin America and the Caribbean became the hardest-hit region in the global pandemic, Brazil on Saturday night passed

, joining the United States as the only two countries to surpass the six-digit death mark.

Tolls continue to rise across the world, with global fatalities having now soared past 723,000.

India has more than two million infections – its caseload having doubled in three weeks – and has recorded 42,518 deaths.

And more than 10,000 people have died from coronavirus in South Africa, the health ministry said Saturday, as football resumed following a 145-day coronavirus-induced shutdown.

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