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Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Brutal surges in coronavirus cases are hitting much of the world all at once, from Europe to Brazil to India.

The big picture: Cases are rising just about everywhere, in a swift reversal from early February, when they were falling on every continent. They're also now ticking up in the U.S., which is in the midst of a race between vaccines and variants.

  • Brazil is recording by far the world's highest daily death tolls, which far exceed anything seen earlier in the pandemic. Hospitals are at or exceeding capacity in nearly every state, AP reports. A new, more contagious “Brazilian variant” poses a grave threat, including to the U.S.
  • Nairobi, Kenya, has entered a partial lockdown, with schools and bars closed and domestic travel halted. Recorded cases and deaths in Kenya remain relatively low, but high test positivity rates and surging hospital admissions have alarmed the government.
  • German officials are warning that the third wave there could be the most devastating yet.

Go deeper: CDC director warns of "impending doom"

Go deeper

Mar 29, 2021 - Health

CDC director warns of "impending doom" as COVID cases increase

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky went off script at a briefing Monday and made an emotional plea to Americans not to let up on public health measures amid fears of a fourth wave.

What they're saying: “I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom," Walensky said, appearing to hold back tears. "We do not have the luxury of inaction. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge."

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Mar 29, 2021 - Health

Millions of Americans remain vulnerable as variants drive up cases

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coronavirus cases are on the rise again in several states, partially a result of variants of the virus becoming more widespread, experts say.

Why it matters: Even though a remarkable 72% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, millions of Americans — particularly younger Americans with underlying conditions — remain vulnerable.

Mar 29, 2021 - Health

CDC: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines are 90% effective in real-world conditions

A registered nurse loads a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Frederic Brown/AFP via Getty Images

People who are fully vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna are 90% less likely to get infected with COVID-19, according to a CDC study that tested nearly 4,000 health care workers and other essential workers for the virus weekly.

Why it matters: The data show how well the vaccine performs in non-clinical trial settings. During the mRNA clinical trials for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, effectiveness from full vaccination was about 95%.