By MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 68.8 million people and killed over 1.5 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 Thursday. All times Eastern:

Dec 10, 4:31 am
US on verge of grim milestone: 290,000 deaths from COVID

Just as the U.S. surpassed 280,000 deaths from coronavirus on Saturday, Dec. 5, the country is likely to pass 290,000 deaths later today.

The current death toll stands at 289,373, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

This comes on the heels of new records reported yesterday in highest single-day total and seven-day average of new daily deaths — 3,054 and 2,276 respectively — according to The COVID Tracking Project.

Dec 10, 1:16 am
Four incoming Georgia sheriffs test positive for COVID-19, others await results

Four Georgia sheriffs just elected to their counties have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a joint statement sent out Wednesday night, Fulton County Sheriff-elect Pat Labat and Cobb County Sheriff-elect Craig Owens said they tested positive after attending a sheriff’s school in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Gwinnett Sheriff-elect Keybo Taylor and Henry County Sheriff-elect Reginald Scandrett also said they tested positive for COVID-19. Others who attended the conference are quarantining in their homes as they await their COVID-19 test results.

“We urge all Georgians to follow the advice of our dedicated health care workers and to wear masks and socially distance,” the sheriffs said in a joint statement. “While the vaccine is forthcoming, the pandemic is not over yet, and we must all remain diligent to ensure the safety of our communities.”

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