Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives home in Chicago from prison after his sentence was commuted by President Trump on Tuesday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich thanked President Trump from Denver International Airport Tuesday before catching a flight back to Chicago following his release from prison — hours after Trump commuted his 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption.

What he's saying: "I'm profoundly grateful to President Trump and it's a profound and everlasting gratitude," said the former contestant on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice," who was eight years into his sentence for crimes including seeking to sell an appointment to former President Obama's old Senate seat, to WGN-TV. "He didn't have to do this, he's a Republican president and I was a Democratic governor."

Go deeper: Trump pardons the swamp

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Updated 20 mins ago - Health

Which states have set single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: COVID Tracking Project and state health department data compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti and Naema Ahmed/Axios

13 states this week surpassed records set just last week for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health department data. 16 states in total reported new highs.

The big picture: The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't just due to increased testing — particularly where the number of cases has grown fastest over the last month, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 12,389,660 — Total deaths: 557,279 — Total recoveries — 6,830,596Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 3,169,611 — Total deaths: 133,885 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,856,341Map.
  3. Public health: The reality of the coronavirus bites.
  4. Trade: Trump says he's no longer considering phase-two trade deal with China because the pandemic damaged the two countries' relationship.
  5. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.
2 hours ago - Health

Reality of the coronavirus bites

National Airport in D.C. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

It feels like mid-March in America again. The coronavirus is surging, deaths are climbing and the country is dreading a wave of disruptions, less than four months since the first round started.

The big picture: Lingering under all the happy talk of future plans is the reality of this virus — which thrives in potential super-spreader conditions like mass gatherings.