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

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

New coronavirus infections jumped by 40% over the past week. The U.S. is now averaging roughly 119,000 new cases per day — by far the highest daily average of any point in the pandemic.

The big picture: The U.S. has never controlled the coronavirus and isn't about to start.

Details: Cases rose over the past week in 45 states, and held steady in the other five. Not a single state saw an improvement.

  • The number of people who are sick enough that they need to be hospitalized is also higher than it’s ever been, and still climbing. Nearly 62,000 Americans are in the hospital for coronavirus infections.

Testing is up, too. The U.S. is now conducting just under 1.4 million tests per day, up 11% from the week before.

  • The problem is that we have more cases for those tests to find. Cases were up nearly 40% this week — far more than the increase in testing.

What's next: Experts have long believed that winter would be a dangerous time — not because temperature makes much of a biological difference for the virus, but because it spreads more easily indoors.

  • More indoor socializing, and holiday travel, will likely cause cases to keep rising.
  • Infections are also spreading widely in places where it's still warm, and the last big spike in cases happened over the summer. Winter is not our only problem — it just exacerbates our failure to stop the virus' spread.

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

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
14 hours ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

12 hours ago - World

UN: "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"

David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. Photo: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP via Getty Images

Next year is "going to be catastrophic" in terms of worldwide humanitarian crises, World Food Program executive director David Beasley warned on Friday, per Reuters.

Driving the news: The stark outlook comes as many countries contend with not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also possible famine, economic instability, conflict and other humanitarian crises. A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year, a nearly 40% increase from 2020, the UN projected earlier this week

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