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Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. is now averaging nearly 250,000 new coronavirus cases per day — a crisis of staggering proportions, even though many Americans have tuned it out.

The big picture: It's not even sufficient to say the pandemic is “still going on,” as if it’s a fire that hasn’t finished burning out. The pandemic is raging. Its deadliest and most dangerous days are happening right now. And it keeps getting worse.

Everywhere you look, day-to-day vigilance is fading.

  • You see it up close, as social distancing falls by the wayside, masks dangle on people’s chins, and friends and family let their guard down to socialize indoors.
  • Americans are traveling, restaurants are at max capacity, some sports teams have fans in the stands, and some colleges are bringing students back to campus. People were ignoring news coverage of the virus even before new crises pushed it off the front page.

But at the same time Americans are taking the virus less seriously, it is becoming more serious.

  • The U.S. averaged 244,519 new cases per day over the past week, a 13% jump from the week before.
  • Hospital capacity is dangerously strained in several parts of the country. Coronavirus patients now occupy 40% of all the hospital beds in Arizona, 33% in California and Nevada, and 26% of all the beds in Georgia and Texas.
  • December was the deadliest month of the entire pandemic, and January is on track to beat it. The virus has already killed roughly 35,000 Americans just in the first 13 days of this month.

What’s next: This will keep getting worse before it gets better.

  • Each of the 244,519 people infected every day can each go on to infect several more. That’s been our problem this whole time, and newly discovered variants of the virus appear to spread even more easily.
  • More cases lead to more hospitalizations, and more hospitalizations lead to more deaths.
  • And it will be months, at least, before most Americans can protect themselves with a vaccine.

How it works: Each week, Axios tracks the change in new infections in each state. We use a seven-day average to minimize the effects of day-to-day discrepancies in states’ reporting.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
18 hours ago - Health

Global vaccine inequities raise concerns of persistent spread in developing world

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The unequal global access to coronavirus vaccines is raising concerns that the virus will be left to spread and dangerously mutate in some parts of the world, Bloomberg reports.

What they're saying: "We cannot leave parts of the world without access to vaccines because it's just going to come back to us," Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at health research foundation Wellcome, told Bloomberg. "That puts everyone around the world at risk."

Updated 21 hours ago - Sports

2 tennis players test positive for coronavirus ahead of Australian Open

A tennis player (C) leaves hotel quarantine for a training session in Melbourne on Tuesday. The players to test positive for COVID-19 have not been publicly identified. Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Two tennis players are among seven people involved in the Australian Open to test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Melbourne, health authorities in the state of Victoria said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Some tennis stars including men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic had sent a letter demanding Victorian authorities ease strict coronavirus quarantine rules for players ahead of the season-opening tennis major's start on Feb. 8.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
19 hours ago - Health

Demand for coronavirus vaccines is outstripping supply

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Now that nearly half of the U.S. population could be eligible for coronavirus vaccines, America is facing the problem experts thought we’d have all along: demand for the vaccine is outstripping supply.

Why it matters: The Trump administration’s call for states to open up vaccine access to all Americans 65 and older and adults with pre-existing conditions may have helped massage out some bottlenecks in the distribution process, but it’s also led to a different kind of chaos.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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