US COVID-19 cases surpass 20 million
The number of confirmed US coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million on the first day of 2021, according to data from John Hopkins University.
The US now accounts for twice as many cases as the number two country, India, and nearly one-quarter of the more than 83 million cases globally.
COVID-19 deaths have also increased in the country, now totalling more than 346,000.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 166 COVID-19 deaths were recorded on Thursday.
Giving the state's progress on the ongoing pandemic, Governor Cuomo said the number of patient hospitalizations in the state stood at 7,886, representing a statewide positivity rate of 7.52 percent and 1,292 of those were patients in Intensive Care Unit, with 776 intubated. New York state now has a total of 30,208 deaths.
"As we enter this new year, New Yorkers should be energized with a bright hope for the future," Governor Cuomo said. "We know what we have to do to defeat this invisible enemy and we are reminded of what can be achieved when we come together and work toward a united solution.
"As we start 2021, I encourage all New Yorkers to look to their better angels and continue the practices we know stop the spread of this virus - wash your hands, socially distance, and wear a mask. I am confident that we will win this war together because we are New York Tough."
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city recorded 219 new hospitalizations, 3,419 new cases representing a positivity rate of 9.41 percent during the seven-day average.
"2021 is here and it will be a better year for our city-but we have to keep up the fight against #COVID19," Mayor de Blasio said.