By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US surpassed 14 million coronavirus cases Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Maryland-based school registered 14,012,378 cases and 274,648 deaths, days after the nation left the Thanksgiving holiday behind. Some 5.3 million patients have recovered from the virus.
The US is experiencing record levels of COVID-19 cases, fueled in large part by holiday gatherings and other social interactions as Americans move in-doors during the colder winter months.
Three states reported more than 1 million infections: California, Texas and Florida.
The country's first COVID-19 case was reported Jan. 20 in Washington state.
"Cases are rising, hospitalizations are increasing, deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase," Dr. Henry Walke, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s COVID-19 incident manager, said during a briefing, according to NBC News.
There are two vaccine candidates that recently applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization.
US biotech firm Moderna plans to make 20 million doses available by the end of the year, and it wants to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.
The Donald Trump administration ordered 100 million doses from American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, as part of its Operation Warp Speed to get the COVID-19 vaccine to Americans.