(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 72.2 million people and killed over 1.6 million worldwide, 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 Monday. All times Eastern:

Dec 14, 8:21 am
‘I will be getting it,’ US surgeon general says of COVID-19 vaccine

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as he’s allowed to.

“I will be getting it when they tell me I can get it — that’s how confident I am in its safety,” Adams told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday on Good Morning America.

Adams said the priority is administering the vaccine to nursing home residents and health care workers.

“I still practice medicine. I also travel around the country and deploy as part of my job as surgeon general,” he noted. “So I imagine I’ll be in that first tier. But again, we want to make sure we’re getting the people who are most likely to be impacted vaccinated first.”

“We also recognize that there’s a symbolic part of someone like me getting vaccinated, giving people confidence that they can get vaccinated,” he added.

Adams advised those who aren’t in the priority group to get vaccinated against the flu in the meantime and to discuss any concerns they have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine with a health care professional.

“You should be going right now to get your flu shot if you haven’t already and talk to your doctor about vaccinations,” he said. “Get your questions answered because it is ok, it is normal to have questions. What’s not normal is to let misinformation rule you. Vaccines will sometimes give you a sore arm. They can give you a little bit of a mild fever or you can feel a little bit bad, but that’s normal — that means the vaccine is actually working.”

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was authorized for emergency use in the United States on Friday. A final analysis of a massive Phase 3 clinical trial showed the vaccine is roughly 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, which Adams said “means we can put this pandemic away if we get enough people vaccinated.”

“We still need to be careful into the at least second quarter of next year because these vaccines were tested with an outcome of severe disease, not a prevention of infection,” he added. “So we don’t know yet whether they will prevent infection, but they could prevent you from being in the hospital and ultimately passing from this virus. Still incredibly important to get vaccinated, but we’re going to need to continue to wear our masks, wash our hands and watch our distance as we slowly start to reopen with the assistance of these great vaccines.”

Dec 14, 7:34 am
FedEx says it has completed 1st deliveries of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in US

FedEx announced Monday morning that it has “safely” completed its first deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses across the United States.

“We’re honoured to be able to use our network to transport these critical vaccines in the U.S., and eventually the world,” the Memphis-based shipping giant posted on its official Twitter account.

The vaccine was authorized for emergency use in the United States on Friday.

Dec 14, 5:09 am
US reports over 190,000 new cases

There were 190,920 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s the 41st straight day that the U.S. has reported over 100,000 newly diagnosed infections. Sunday’s tally is less than the country’s all-time high of 231,775 new cases confirmed on Dec. 11, according to Johns Hopkins data.

An additional 1,389 deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide on Sunday, down from a peak of 3,300 fatalities on Dec. 11, according to Johns Hopkins data.

A total of 16,256,754 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 299,177 of them 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 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.

Dec 14, 4:28 am
Los Angeles receives its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses

A first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses has arrived in Los Angeles.

The precious cargo touched down at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday night.

“This is a major milestone for science, our country and our community,” the airport posted on its official Twitter account, alongside photos of a FedEx plane. “Thank you to all those who made this delivery possible, and are part of the incredible effort to distribute vaccines around the world.”

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use that was developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. Pfizer had said it expects to have vaccine doses shipping out of its facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Sunday morning.

U.S. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine program, said the first shipments are expected to arrive at 145 sites across the country by Monday, 425 sites on Tuesday and another 66 sites on Wednesday.

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