News updates from November 2: Dow Jones closes above 36,000, CDC backs Covid vaccine for young children, US sues to block publisher mega-merger

The month of October marked further signs of progress for the US as it seeks to bring its most recent wave of the coronavirus pandemic under control.

National trends in infections, hospitalisations and deaths have been in decline, while the vaccination rollout has been given an additional recent lift with commencement of the Covid-19 booster shot programme.

Two-thirds of the US population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 58 per cent have been fully vaccinated, according to data released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine are the only states with more than 70 per cent of their populations fully vaccinated, while 12 states are yet to pass the 50 per cent mark.

At the end of October, 47,103 people were being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals across the US, a drop of almost 26,000 patients since the level at the end of September, according to a Financial Times analysis of data released on Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico and South Dakota are the only states to have had more patients in hospital at the end of October than September.

CDC data show the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases is hovering just below 70,000, down from the highest levels over summer of more than 161,000 a day.

That stands in contrast to the end of October last year when the US averaged almost 83,600 new infections a day and cases were in the midst of an upward trend heading into winter.

However, deaths are running at a higher rate than a year ago. Towards the end of October, the seven-day average of Covid-19 deaths in the US was about 1,100. That was an improvement from high rates during summer of more than 1,800 a day, but compares with about 800 a day in late October last year.

Earlier on Monday, figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed the number of confirmed Covid-19 fatalities worldwide topped 5m.