Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 94.2 million people worldwide and killed over 2 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 was developing Friday. All times Eastern:

Jan 17, 10:57 am

People turned away from Houston Astros’ stadium after vaccines run out

People seeking COVID-19 vaccines in Houston were sent away from Minute Maid Park after appointments were overbooked.

The Houston Health Department announced Saturday that it had run out of vaccines by 6 p.m. after it had administered 5,451 doses at the site, where the line wrapped around the building, ABC Houston station KTRK-TV reported. Several people left without getting vaccinated.

Houston Health Department Stephen Williams said during a press conference Saturday he warned the mayor that there wouldn’t be enough doses to last the week.

The city received “a little” over 30,000 doses, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

Jan 16, 6:41 pm

Prince William touts vaccine, urges UK to follow grandparents' lead

Prince William championed the effort of the NHS, the U.K.'s health agency, in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine in a video posted to Kensington Royal's Twitter account Saturday night.

The video included several health care professionals on a Zoom call, along with the Duke of Cambridge, talking about distributing and delivering the vaccine.

"This is because we have a world-leading NHS, this is because we have the right people, the right research and development here," William says in the video.

William also encourages people to get the vaccine when they are eligible, noting his "grandparents" -- Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip -- got the vaccine already. The palace said last week that Elizabeth, 94, and Philip, 99, had gotten the vaccine.

"My grandparents have had the vaccine and I'm very proud of them for doing that," he says in the video. "So it's really important that everyone gets their vaccine.”

Jan 16, 6:05 pm

LA County crosses 1 million cases, identifies 1st UK variant

Los Angeles County, the hardest hit region in the country right now, announced it has crossed 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

The county has identified 1,003,923 cases since the start of the pandemic -- the first county in the country to cross the mark. Only four states outside of California have met that ignominious total. The county announced 253 new deaths and 14,669 new cases on Saturday.

There are currently 7,597 people hospitalized in LA County with COVID-19 -- down slightly from days earlier when the total crossed 7,900.

Also of concern, the county identified its first case of the so-called U.K. variant on Saturday. The case was discovered in a man who was recently in LA, but has since traveled to Oregon, where he is isolating, the health department said.

"The presence of the U.K. variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our healthcare system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people currently hospitalized," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health. "This more contagious variant makes it easier for infections to spread at worksites, at stores, and in our homes."

There had already been 40 cases of the variant, officially called the B.1.1.7 variant, detected in California.

Jan 16, 3:11 pm

FDA comments on reports of deaths in Norway following COVID-19 vaccination

The Norwegian Medicines Agency on Thursday reported a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, 13 of them fatal, according to The Associated Press. All the deaths occurred among patients in nursing homes and all were over the age of 80.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told ABC News on Saturday regarding the deaths in Norway: "To date, we have not seen any new safety signals In the U.S. following administration of either authorized COVID-19 vaccine, and therefore do not currently plan to make any changes."

In the U.S. any reports of death following vaccination are "promptly and rigorously investigated" by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the spokesperson said.

Jan 16, 11:39 am

Texas reports 3rd case of UK variant

Texas' third case of the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom, has been found in Dallas, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported in a statement Saturday morning.

"The individual is a male resident of the City of Dallas in his 20’s, with no recent history of travel outside of the United States. Results of genetic sequencing this week showed that the infection was caused by the variant. This is the first known case of this variant in a Dallas County resident. The individual is stable and is in isolation. DCHHS epidemiologists are involved with the investigation in identifying and notifying close contacts," the statement read.

  • ABC News' James Scholz

Jan 15, 8:20 pm

7-day averages for cases down across US

There are some encouraging signs in the latest COVID-19 data.

The seven-day averages for cases are declining throughout the U.S., according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The averages are down in all four regions that the tracker compares: Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

On a national level, it appears that COVID-19 hospitalizations are also on the decline, the tracker said. Though it noted that some areas are still seeing an "overwhelming" level of hospitalizations.

The U.S. reported 243,996 new cases, 3,679 new deaths and 127,235 currently hospitalizations on Friday, according to The COVID Tracking Project's tally.

Jan 15, 4:57 pm

Biden stresses equity, transparency in vaccination plan

President-elect Joe Biden laid out a five-point vaccination plan Friday that he promised would turn the public's "frustration into motivation" and meet his goal of getting 100 million shots into Americans' arms within his first 100 days in office.

The plan includes working with states to open up more priority groups for vaccination, mobilizing a larger workforce to administer vaccines and working directly with independent and chain pharmacies to distribute them. Biden's administration also plans to set up 100 federally funded vaccination centers in school gyms, sports stadiums and mobile clinics to help reach communities that have been hit hard by the virus.

"Equity is central to our COVID response," Biden said.

Scientists in Biden's administration, like the surgeon general, will speak directly to the American people, he added, and pledged to be transparent about "both the good news and the bad" when it came COVID-19 progress. "You’re entitled to know," he said.

Jan 15, 2:07 pm

Faster-spreading variant could become dominant by March: CDC

The new COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom could increase the trajectory of the virus in the United States, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

Unless new mitigation measures are taken, the variant, known as B.1.1.7, is likely to become the predominant variant in the U.S. by March, the report warned. The CDC called for "universal compliance" with public health measures and more genomic surveillance to monitor new variants and mutations.

"Higher vaccination coverage might need to be achieved to protect the public," according to the report. While the new variant is not more deadly than the old one, it is thought to be more transmissible, meaning that it could lead to more cases, and ultimately more hospitalizations and deaths.

-ABC News' Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Jan 15, 1:01 pm

COVID-19 deaths top two million worldwide

Deaths from COVID-19 reached a grim new milestone Friday, with 2,00,905 fatalities reported around the world since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The United States leads the world in COVID-19 deaths, with 389,581 fatalities, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Jan 15, 1:11 pm

100M doses in 100 days 'quite feasible': Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci called President-elect Joe Biden's promise to administer 100 million COVID-19 shots in the first 100 days of his term "quite feasible" during an interview with NBC's Today show Friday. He said he hopes the United States can get to 70% or 80% vaccination within several months.

Part of the distribution holdup, according to Fauci, has been careful prioritization by states.

"If you have a dose, give it," he urged states. "Don't be so rigid as to those early designations."

Reaching those goals, however, depends on vaccine uptake. 

"When a vaccine becomes available, get vaccinated,” Fauci pleaded with the public.

Jan 15, 8:31 am

Biden picks former FDA chief to help lead Operation Warp Speed

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to help lead the federal government's COVID-19 vaccine initiative.

Kessler, a pediatrician and lawyer who headed the FDA from 1999 to 1997 under the Bush and Clinton administrations, will replace Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is the current chief science officer to Operation Warp Speed.

Biden also announced several other appointees who will join his incoming administration's COVID-19 response team.

"We are in a race against time, and we need a comprehensive strategy to quickly contain this virus," Biden said in a statement Thursday. "The individuals announced today will bolster the White House’s COVID-19 Response team and play important roles in carrying out our rescue plan and vaccination program. At a time when American families are facing numerous challenges I know these public servants will do all that is needed to build our nation back better."

Jan 15, 7:40 am

Moscow sees highest single-day death toll from COVID-19

There were 5,534 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a record 81 deaths from the disease registered in Moscow on Thursday, according to Russia's coronavirus response headquarters.

In total, the Russian capital has reported 882,962 confirmed cases with 12,322 deaths, according to the coronavirus response headquarters.

With more than 3.4 million confirmed cases, Russia has the fourth highest cumulative total in the world, after the United States, India and Brazil, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Jan 15, 6:58 am

US marks 10th straight day of over 200K new cases

There were 229,386 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It's the 10th consecutive day that the country has reported more than 200,000 new cases. Thursday's tally is less than the country's all-time high of 302,506 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.

An additional 3,769 new deaths from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 4,462 fatalities logged on Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins data.

COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holidays followed by a potentially very large backlog.

A total of 23,314,238 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 388,705 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.

The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.

Jan 14, 9:57 pm

Dodger Stadium to open as mass vaccination site Friday

Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium will open as one of the largest mass vaccination sites in the country on Friday, officials announced.

The stadium will have the capacity to vaccinate 12,000 people a day, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said during his COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

Eligibility in Los Angeles County currently is limited to health care workers and seniors in nursing facilities.

The vaccination push comes as 1 in 3 people in LA County has been infected with COVID-19, Garcetti said. The county reported 17,323 new cases on Thursday.

"Our numbers remain very high. We remain one of the epicenters of this disease across the country," Garcetti said, though he added that there are signs that hospitalizations may be stabilizing.

Jan 14, 8:06 pm

US deaths 25% higher than any other time during pandemic

Deaths continue to surge nationwide in the weeks after the end-of-year holidays. U.S. deaths are currently 25% higher than at any other time during the pandemic, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

"For scale, COVID-19 deaths reported this week exceed the CDC's estimate of 22K flu-related deaths during the entire 2019-2020 season," the wrote.

There were 3,915 deaths reported on Thursday, well above a seven-day average that continues to rise. Cases and hospitalizations were under the seven-day average on Thursday.

The one bit of good news highlighted by The COVID Tracking Project hospitalization numbers are leveling off. However, there are still 128,947 people currently hospitalized, much more than at any other time during the pandemic.

The COVID Tracking Project singled out Alabama, Arizona, California and Florida as particularly concerning locations right now. Arizona currently has the worst per-capita case numbers in the world, according to the project.

Jan 14, 4:29 pm

Newly identified US variant may have emerged in May, study indicates

A newly identified variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 may have emerged in the U.S. in May and could be one of the predominant versions circulating now, researchers at Southern Illinois University found.

 

Just because a new variant has emerged doesn't mean it's inherently dangerous, experts cautioned. It’s unknown if this new U.S. variant is more transmissible and deadly, but scientists say they are monitoring and continuing to study newly emerging viral variants. On Wednesday, researchers at Ohio State reported two newly identified ones. On Thursday, researchers at Southern Illinois University said they also identified a new variant, which is likely the same as the two identified in Ohio.

Now, researchers at Southern Illinois University are sharing even more details about this U.S. variant, which they are calling 20C-US. Origins of this variant can be traced to May 2020 from a sample in Texas, they said.

 

The 20C-US variant appears to be widespread in the Upper Midwest and comprises roughly 50% of the samples in the U.S., said Keith T. Gagnon, coauthor of the study and associate professor at Southern Illinois University.

"Let’s not get overly excited -- but be diligent," Gagon said. "Here it was, underneath our noses, for months."

 

“It doesn't look like it’s going to get in the way of vaccines," Gagnon added.

ABC News’ Sean Llewellyn, Eric Strauss and Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Jan 14, 3:30 pm

Texas is 1st state to administer 1 million vaccines

Texas, home to about 29 million people, has become the first state to administer more than 1 million vaccine doses, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Texas has 2,040,751 confirmed cases and at least 31,277 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Texas’ Harris County, home to Houston, ranks No. 5 in the country for highest cases, behind Los Angeles County, California; Cook County, Illinois; Marciopa County, Arizona; and Miami-Dade County, Florida.

ABC News’ Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

Jan 14, 2:14 pm

Brazil variant prompts UK to ban arrivals from some South American, Central American countries

The United Kingdom will ban arrivals from several South and Central American countries beginning on Friday "following evidence of a new variant from Brazil,” U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

The government will ban arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Travel from Portugal to the U.K. will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil, Shapps said.

Jan 14, 2:05 pm

About 1 in 3 has been infected in LA County

About one in every three people in Los Angeles County has been infected with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, Los Angeles County Health Department officials said Wednesday.

Los Angeles County is close to becoming the county to reach 1 million cases. As of Thursday morning, 958,497 people in the county had been infected.

Jan 14, 12:46 pm

Arizona leading US in cases per capita

The U.S. is averaging over 242,000 new cases per day, according to ABC News’ analysis of COVID Tracking Project data.

Arizona is leading the country in cases per capita.

In Virginia, Georgia and Florida, daily case numbers dwarf their respective summer peaks.

In New York, the average number of daily cases is 65% higher than during the spring surge.

Jan 14, 12:24 pm

Turkey's president gets 1st dose of China's COVID-19 vaccine

Turkish President Recep Tayyip on Thursday received a first dose of CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, according to state-owned Anadolu news agency.

Turkey approved CoronaVac for emergency use on Wednesday. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca was the first person in the country to receive a dose of the vaccine.

Jan 14, 11:28 am

Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI receive 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

"I can confirm that as part of the Vatican City State vaccination program to date, the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus," Bruni said in a statement Thursday.

Francis, who turned 84 last month and had part of a lung removed when he was younger, reportedly received the shot Wednesday while Benedict, 93, reportedly got it Thursday.

Vatican City, an independent enclave surrounded by Rome that serves as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, launched the immunization campaign on Wednesday, administering doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

The tiny city-state has a population of only around 800 people but employs more than 4,000. It's unclear how many doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been procured so far.

Vatican City citizens, along with employees and pensioners, will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as well as family members who are entitled to use of the city-state's health care system. Priority is being given to health care workers, public safety personnel, the elderly and individuals who are most frequently in contact with the public, according to Bruni.

The vaccination campaign is voluntary and people under the age of 18 are being excluded for the time being, Bruni said.

Since the start of the pandemic, Vatican City has reported at least 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Jan 14, 10:13 am

US reports over 229,000 new cases

There were 229,610 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It's the ninth straight day that the country has reported more than 200,000 new cases. Wednesday's tally is less than the country's all-time high of 302,506 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.

An additional 3,959 new deaths from COVID-19 registered nationwide on Wednesday, down from a peak of 4,327 fatalities logged the previous day, according to Johns Hopkins data.

COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holidays followed by a potentially very large backlog.

A total of 23,079,163 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 384,794 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.

The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.

Jan 14, 10:00 am

Another member of Congress tests positive

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., said Thursday morning that he’s tested positive for COVID-19, one day after attending the impeachment vote on the House floor.

Espaillat said he's quarantining at home.

He tweeted, “I received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week and understand the affects take time. I have continued to be tested regularly, wear my mask and follow the recommended guidelines."

Eight lawmakers have tested positive since the Jan. 6 siege.

Jan 14, 8:46 am

965,000 workers filed jobless claims last week

A total of 965,000 workers filed jobless claims last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, an increase of 181,000 from the prior week.

The Labor Department also said that more than 18 million people were still receiving some form of unemployment benefits through all government programs for the week ending Dec. 26. For the comparable week in 2019, that figure was just above two million.

The weekly unemployment tally has fallen since peaking at 6.9 million in March but still remains elevated by historical standards.

The pre-pandemic record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.

That record has been broken every week since late March.

As of last month, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was 6.7%. It was 3.5% last February.

Jan 14, 8:32 am

WHO experts arrive in Wuhan

An international team of scientists researching the origins of COVID-19 arrived on Thursday in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first discovered, the World Health Organization said.

“The experts will begin their work immediately during the 2 weeks quarantine protocol for international travelers,” the WHO tweeted.

Jan 14, 8:19 am

US could see up to 477,000 deaths by Feb. 6

This week’s national  released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 16,200 to 29,600 more Americans will likely die in the week ending Feb. 2.

The national ensemble estimates a total of 440,000 to 477,000 COVID-19 deaths will be reported by that date.

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