Coronavirus: Over 17 million COVID-19 cases reported in US

The United States passed another grim milestone Thursday with more than 17 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

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The numbers include more than 1.6 million cases in California, over 1.3 million cases in Texas and 1.1 million infections in Florida, the three states with the highest number of infections.

Since January, when the first COVID-19 case was identified in the U.S., more than 307,000 people have died of the viral infection. The number represents the highest coronavirus-related death toll for a nation and 18% of the 1.6 million deaths reported globally.

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Officials in India have reported the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and the third-highest number of deaths. As of Thursday, more than 9.9 million coronavirus infections were reported across India, causing nearly 144,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

The third-highest number of COVID-19 cases was reported in Brazil, where 7 million have fallen ill. The country has the second-highest coronavirus death toll with more than 183,000 killed by the virus.

>> Related: FDA committee endorses emergency use for COVID-19 vaccine shot

Last week, regulators in the U.S. authorized emergency use of the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by American drug manufacturer Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech. In a clinical trial, the companies’ drug was found to be 95% effective, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Health care workers nationwide began receiving the first of two vaccination shots earlier this week.

Regulators on Thursday are considering the scientific evidence behind a separate vaccine which was developed by Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna. If approved for emergency use, officials expect millions more doses of the drug will be available nationwide.