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Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus infections are on the rise yet again, all across the U.S.

The big picture: America may be at the beginning of a fourth wave in the pandemic. It will almost certainly be far less deadly than the previous three, but this persistent failure to contain the virus has real consequences, and will only make it harder to put COVID-19 behind us.

By the numbers: On average, roughly 63,000 Americans per day were diagnosed with coronavirus infections over the past week. That’s a 17% increase from the week before, and echoes the rising caseloads of the pandemic’s second wave last summer.

  • Average daily caseloads increased over the past week in 25 states. The biggest spikes were in Michigan and New York.
  • Even as vaccinations continue to climb, new cases only declined in five states, mainly in the Southeast.

What we’re watching: Because so many seniors have been vaccinated — 73% have gotten at least one dose — this fourth wave is likely to be a lot less deadly than the previous ones.

  • Many states have also prioritized vaccinating people with underlying health conditions, which will also help constrain the increase in severe illness and death.

Yes, but: More coronavirus is always a bad outcome, and this fourth wave is a foreseeable, preventable failure that risks dragging out the pandemic and leaving more people at risk in the process.

  • Millions of younger Americans with high-risk medical conditions haven’t yet been vaccinated, and therefore are still susceptible to serious illness and death as the virus spreads more aggressively.
  • Hospitalizations are still rising — they’re just not likely to increase as dramatically as they have before.
  • Greater spread also fosters the growth of new variants. The variants driving this outbreak are more contagious than the original strain; future variants will likely be less susceptible to our existing vaccines.
  • Failing to control the virus now means it’ll be hanging around and flaring up longer into the future.

The bottom line: The vaccines work, and will spare us a lot of the death and suffering of previous surges. But four waves of infection in one year represents a clear failure to control the virus through any other means, and that will continue to hurt us.

Go deeper: Coronavirus cases are rising all over the world

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

Jun 11, 2021 - Health

G7 commits to sending 1 billion COVID vaccine doses to lower-income countries

Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

The Group of 7 wealthy nations on Friday pledged to deliver more than 1 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine to lower-income countries beginning this summer.

Why it matters: The G7 countries have been criticized for not sharing vaccines with nations that have fewer resources and are struggling to contain new waves of the pandemic.

Jun 11, 2021 - Health

FDA clears 10 million J&J vaccine doses from contaminated Baltimore plant

Emergent BioSolutions ruined 15 million of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses back in March. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it's allowing for the release of two batches of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine made at the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, where 100 million doses had been set aside for review after an accidental contamination.

Why it matters: The two authorized batches amount to approximately 10 million doses of J&J's single-shot vaccine, according to AP. The doses could end up being used in the U.S. or exported to other countries.

Updated 11 mins ago - Sports

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament

Czech 42nd-ranked Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan's Naomi Osaka after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Of note: Japan's Osaka is the women's world No. 2, while is Vondrousova ranked No.42.