Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Note: Kansas data via CDC and from Aug. 3-16, 2021; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of coronavirus cases in most states is still rising, ensuring that the U.S. has a long way to go in its fight against the Delta variant.

Why it matters: Hospitals across the country are filling up with coronavirus patients, and some are running out of available ICU beds. Until cases begin to drop, the health care system will continue to face a crisis, and Americans will continue to suffer preventable deaths.

By the numbers: The number of total cases in the U.S. rose by nearly 18% over the last week.

  • One in five ICUs throughout the U.S. has at least 95% of beds occupied, the NYT reported earlier this week, and the situation in the South is particularly grim.

Between the lines: Cases rose most in the Upper Midwest, Washington state, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

  • Some of the states hit hardest by Delta early on, like Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, saw a plateau in cases, a hopeful sign that their caseloads could soon start to decline.
  • But even if they do, it will take several weeks for hospitalizations to decline as well.
  • Cases rose by 12.6% in Florida, which continues to set hospitalization records that exceed the levels reached before vaccines were widely available.

The big picture: The highly transmissible Delta variant has been dominant in the U.S. for more than a month now and is spreading easily through the unvaccinated population.

  • New data suggests that breakthrough infections have become more common, either because the vaccines are less effective against Delta or because their protection wanes over time.
  • But the vaccines' effectiveness against severe disease has held up. The vast majority of hospitalized coronavirus patients are unvaccinated, meaning Americans without their shots are bearing the brunt of this wave of the pandemic.

Yes, but: Cases are a more limited measure of the pandemic now than they were in previous waves.

  • That's because mild or asymptomatic cases, particularly among the vaccinated, are likely slipping through the cracks.
  • And cases among the vaccinated are less of a concern than those among the unvaccinated, as they're highly unlikely to result in severe outcomes.

What we're watching: The Delta wave will likely burn out eventually, but it's anyone's guess as to when.

  • On the positive side, the spike in hospitalizations and deaths appears to have prompted a bump in U.S. vaccination rates, and more than half of the population has already received their shots.
  • On the other hand, Americans burned out on social distancing, combined with schools full of unvaccinated children — many of whom aren't required to wear masks — could provide ample fuel for the virus to keep spreading for awhile.

Go deeper

21 hours ago - Health

U.S. COVID death toll surpasses 1918 flu fatalities

White flags are seen on the National Mall on Sept. 18, honoring Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19 epidemic. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

The recorded number COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has now surpassed the known number of fatalities from the 1918 flu pandemic.

The big picture: The U.S. has now marked more than 676,000 deaths from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the 1918 pandemic killed about about 675,000 people.

Rep. Tim Ryan tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said Monday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, and that his vaccination against the virus prevented a more severe infection.

What they're saying: "Today, I tested positive for COVID-19," Ryan wrote on Twitter. "While I’m currently experiencing mild symptoms, I’m grateful to have the protection of a safe and effective vaccine — and I know without it, this illness could be much, much worse."

  • "What we have learned over the last year and a half is that we are in this together, and I urge all Ohioans to help us crush this pandemic by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated so that we can get back to normal."
21 hours ago - World

Biden to push vaccine-sharing at UN, but boosters at home

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

President Biden will convene world leaders on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to push them to do more to end the pandemic — though he's also facing criticism for prioritizing boosters at home.

Why it matters: There is still no functional plan in place to vaccinate the world, and past summits of this sort have flopped. The White House hopes that this virtual gathering will produce ambitious promises, accountability measures to track progress, and ultimately help achieve a 70% global vaccination rate this time next year.