Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, EMILY SHAPIRO and ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 96.9 million people worldwide and killed over two 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 21, 7:33 amCDC projects up to 508K virus deaths in US by mid-FebruaryThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects that the country will have recorded up to 508,000 COVID-19 deaths by mid-February.The CDC on Wednesday published its latest national ensemble forecast, which predicts that 17,000 to 29,300 new fatalities from COVID-19 will likely be reported in the week ending Feb. 13. A total of 465,000 to 508,000 deaths from the disease are projected to be reported nationwide by this date.Last week’s national ensemble forecast predicted there would be a total of 440,000 to 477,000 COVID-19 deaths reported nationwide by Feb. 6.Jan 21, 4:40 amFauci announces US will remain member of WHOThe United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization.Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, made the announcement during a WHO executive board meeting Thursday morning.“I am honored to announce the United States will remain a member of the World health Organization,” he said.The news came hours after President Joe Biden signed an executive order reversing former President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the United Nations agency.Trump previously moved to withdraw the country from the WHO, accusing the organization of failing to correctly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and of allegedly giving too much power to China.Now, under Biden, the U.S. will stop reducing staff at the WHO, and will pay its financial obligations to it, Fauci said at the WHO meeting.Fauci also said that Biden Thursday will order the U.S. to support projects to deploy COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to people in need around the world.Jan 21, 4:09 amUS reports over 178,000 new casesThere were 178,255 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.The latest daily case count is far less than the country’s all-time high of 298,031 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.An additional 4,231 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Wednesday, just under the peak of 4,462 new deaths on Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins data.COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holiday weekend and earlier holidays.A total of 24,438,720 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 406,147 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 nearing 300,000 on Jan. 2.Jan 21, 12:44 amNew CDC director extends eviction ban until end of MarchRochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who began her role after President Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday, released a statement saying she is extending the eviction ban due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.“As a protective public health measure, I will extend the current order temporarily halting residential evictions until at least March 31, 2021,” she said in the statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to our nation’s health. It has also triggered a housing affordability crisis that disproportionately affects some communities.”She said that as cases continue to rise, it’s important to “keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings — like shelters — where COVID-19 can take an even stronger foothold.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.