Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, EMILY SHAPIRO and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 100.7 million people worldwide and killed over 2.1 million of them, 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:Jan 28, 6:32 amUK prime minister hints that England’s lockdown won’t end before March 8British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated that England’s lockdown restrictions will remain in place until at least early March.In a statement to lawmakers at the U.K. House of Commons on Wednesday, Johnson said officials “do not yet have enough data to know exactly how soon it will be safe to reopen our society and economy.” But he expressed hope that schools could reopen from March 8, so long as his government meets its target of vaccinating everyone in the top four priority groups by mid-February.The prime minister also announced new restrictions for travelers arriving in England from countries deemed to be high-risk. He said the United Kingdom remains in a “perilous situation” with more than 37,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 — almost double the amount during the previous peak in April.During a press conference later Wednesday, Johnson told reporters that March 8 was the “earliest” date by which the government could “responsibly” allow schoolchildren to return to classrooms.The comments come after the U.K. became the fifth country in the world to record more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19.England entered its third national lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic on Jan. 5.Although Johnson is the prime minister of the U.K., his administration is only responsible for COVID-19 restrictions in England because public health legislation is devolved to national governments within the U.K., meaning that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own coronavirus-related policies.Jan 28, 6:06 amAlabama detects first cases of UK variantA new, more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom has been detected in Alabama for the first time.The Alabama Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that two cases of the variant were confirmed in Montgomery County residents and a third in a Jefferson County resident. Two of the patients are children under the age of 19.“These are the first reported cases in Alabama of the variant which was first detected in the United Kingdom in late 2020,” the department said in a statement. “This variant is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. ADPH is closely monitoring the emergence of this variant which has been detected in at least 24 other states.”The so-called B117 variant, which is believed to have emerged in England in September, has been detected in more than two dozen U.S. states.Jan 28, 5:29 amCDC projects up to 514K virus deaths in US by Feb. 20The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects that the country will have recorded up to 514,000 COVID-19 deaths by Feb. 20.The CDC on Wednesday published its latest national ensemble forecast, which predicts that the country’s COVID-19 death rate will likely decrease over the next four weeks and that 13,500 to 25,000 new fatalities from the disease will likely be reported in the week ending Feb. 20. A total of 479,000 to 514,000 COVID-19 deaths are projected to be reported nationwide by this date.Last week’s national ensemble forecast predicted there would be a total of 465,000 to 508,000 COVID-19 deaths reported nationwide by Feb. 13.Jan 28, 5:18 amUS has detected 315 cases of UK variant so far, CDC data showsThe United States has detected at least 315 confirmed cases of the highly contagious variant of the novel coronavirus that first emerged in the United Kingdom, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.California and Florida are tied at 92 cases each for the U.S. state with the most confirmed cases of the so-called B117 variant, according to CDC data.The variant was first identified in England in September and has since spread to dozens of other countries around the world.Jan 28, 4:06 amWHO team completes quarantine for pandemic probe in Wuhan, ChinaA World Health Organization team emerged from their 14-day quarantine in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to begin field work in their investigation of the origins of the virus that cause the COVID-19 pandemic.China’s COVID-19 regulations required all members of the team to complete 14 days of quarantine upon their arrival. They have been taking part in virtual meetings during the quarantine period.The researchers were seen leaving their hotel and boarding a bus on Thursday afternoon.Jan 28, 3:49 amUS reports over 152,000 new casesThere were 152,478 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.Wednesday’s case count is far less than the country’s all-time high of 300,282 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.An additional 3,943 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Wednesday, down from a peak of 4,466 new deaths on Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins data.COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend.A total of 25,598,062 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 429,195 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use — one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another developed by American biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.