A Drug Enforcement Administration chemist handling a powder containing fentanyl in 2019. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

Roughly 71,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The figure represents a new record for the U.S. and follows 2018's slight drop in overdoses — the first time the number had gone down in almost 30 years.

By the numbers: Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl drove 2019's increase, accounting for 36,500 overdose deaths, according to AP.

  • Deaths from cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses also jumped.
  • More than 30 states are experiencing an uptick in overdose deaths.

The big picture: The rise comes despite lawmakers allotting billions of dollars to combat the opioid epidemic.

  • Health officials fear the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing recession may push overdose deaths higher this year as some Americans double down on their worst habits to cope with the mental and emotional stress of the outbreak.

Go deeper: America's addiction treatment misses the mark

Go deeper

Updated 20 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

African countries collectively surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases this week.

Why it matters: Health experts believe the true number of COVID-19 cases in African countries is higher than that figure due to a lack of testing and fear that undetected cases could overload some of the world’s weakest health systems.

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
1 hour ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.