Watch live: The World Health Organization holds a press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic as nations race to develop vaccine

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The World Health Organization is holding a briefing Friday on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 26.3 million people worldwide and killed at least 869,300, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier in the day, the WHO told reporters that widespread vaccinations against the virus are not expected until mid-2021. 

Phase three trials “must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is,” spokeswoman Margaret Harris said, according to Reuters.

The comment comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked U.S. states to prepare to distribute a vaccine as soon as Nov. 1. The deadline — just two days before the federal elections — raised concerns among public health experts and scientists that approval of a vaccine will be politically motivated and the White House may be pressuring regulators to get a vaccine to the market ahead of Nov. 3.

Read CNBC’s live updates to see the latest news on the Covid -19 outbreak.

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