The official death count includes only confirmed deaths, and experts say the actual toll could be much higher.
New cases and deaths in the United States on Thursday were almost identical to the high figures that were recorded a day earlier. There were 235,300 new cases nationwide on Thursday, according to scientists tracking the pandemic at the research university -- an increase of about 5,000 cases over Wednesday.
There were also an additional 3,900 coronavirus deaths in the United States on Thursday, the data show -- almost the same number reported the previous day.
In the past three days alone, there have been 12,500 COVID-19 deaths nationwide. Since the start of 2021, more than 50,000 patients have died in the United States.
Since the beginning of the pandemic a year ago, there have been 23.4 million coronavirus cases and about 390,650 related deaths.
President-elect Joe Biden was expected to expand on his plan Friday to better distribute the vaccines.
The national effort under the Trump administration, Operation Warp Speed, has been criticized as unorganized and too slow. Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in December the administration's goal was to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of 2020. Only about half of that figure has been achieved two weeks into 2021.
To date, the government has distributed more than 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and healthcare providers have given the initial shot to 11.2 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden said Thursday night that his administration plans to accomplish 100 million inoculations by the 100th day of his presidency, which is the end of April.
"They have to be the ones that do it on the ground, and so we have to coordinate," he said. "It's a matter of working together.
"I think what we'll do is, we'll find that the locals will step up. They're asking, we want to deliver."
NBC News reported Thursday that Biden's team has only recently been allowed by the Trump administration to start receiving key vaccine data, and still hadn't been given access to the Defense Department's vaccination plans.
In other COVID-19 news:
- COVID-19 tests that use patients' saliva to screen for the virus are just as effective as those that use swabs collected from the nose and throat, an analysis published by JAMA Internal Medicine found.
- The pandemic reduced life expectancy in the United States in 2020 by more than a year, from roughly 78.5 years to 77.5 years, an analysis published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. Life expectancy for Black people could fall by more than two years, while it may drop by more than three years for Latinx people, the data showed.
- The NBA has fined Kyrie Irving $50,000 and assigned the Brooklyn Nets guard a five-day quarantine for violations of COVID-19 health and safety protocol.