Samara Heisz/iStockBy ROSA SANCHEZ, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 82.8 million people worldwide and killed over 1.8 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Here’s how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:

Dec 31, 8:28 am
Surgeon general responds to vaccinations falling short of administration’s goal

In the wake of the Trump administration falling short on its vaccination goal, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told ABC News’ Good Morning America Thursday, “We always knew that this was going to take a while to ramp up.”

“The curve is rapidly increasing, in terms of number of people being vaccinated,” Adams said. “So we shouldn’t extrapolate from what happened yesterday to what’s going to happen six months from now. What we should do is make sure that curve continues to go up and continue to support our state and public health departments, which is what we are doing.”

The Trump administration had promised that 20 million people would be vaccinated by the end of the year.

As of Wednesday morning, 2,794,588 Americans had received vaccine doses and 12.4 million doses had been distributed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There’s vaccines manufactured. There’s vaccines allocated. There’s vaccines delivered. And then there’s vaccines put in arms,” Adams said. “From a federal perspective, we are on track to have 20 million people able to be vaccinated, doses on the ground, by the end of next week.”
 
Adams also urged Americans to celebrate New Year’s Eve virtually.

“This has been a marathon, but we don’t want to trip at the finish line,” Adams said. “We want to have a normal New Year’s next year, we want as many of our loved ones and family and friends as possible to be able to enjoy that New Year’s in 2021. The way we do that is by pulling together and sacrificing one more time so that we can ramp up these vaccinations and put this virus away for good.”

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