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Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The big picture: The number of tests completed in the United States is going up, which is a good thing. But the number of new cases is increasing faster.

  • The situation varies state by state, but the gap between testing and cases is generally largest in the cases with the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks, like Florida and Texas.
  • But in some places, like the District of Columbia and New York, testing has grown faster than new cases — a good indicator that these outbreaks are under control.

My thought bubble: Even if testing did explain why America's official coronavirus caseload has doubled over the last month, that would be little cause for comfort; it'd only indicate that we have a worse problem than we'd thought.

  • But the reality is that states like Arizona, Florida and Texas are struggling to meet the demand for coronavirus tests, meaning the pandemic is already outpacing those states' ability to respond to it.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 13, 2020 - Health

The stubbornly high coronavirus death rate

Reproduced from Bilinski, et al., 2020, "COVID-19 and Excess All-Cause Mortality in the US and 18 Comparison Countries"; Note: The units in the chart were corrected to show the deaths are per 100,000 people (not deaths per one million people.); Chart: Axios Visuals

Although other wealthy countries have higher overall coronavirus mortality rates than the United States, the U.S. death rate since May is unrivaled among its peers, according to a new study published in JAMA.

Between the lines: After the first brutal wave of outbreaks, other countries did much better than the U.S. at learning from their mistakes and preventing more of their population from dying.

Oct 14, 2020 - Health

The pandemic isn't keeping the health care industry down

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Health care's third-quarter earnings season has started, and if the quarter is anything like the previous one, the industry will continue to fare relatively well even amid the broader economic turmoil.

The bottom line: The coronavirus dominated the spring and summer, which forced people to put off care, but people have resumed getting procedures and seeing their doctors.

Black Americans are more skeptical of a coronavirus vaccine

Data: KFF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Strikingly large shares of Black Americans say they would be reluctant to get a coronavirus vaccine — even if it was free and had been deemed safe by scientists, according to a new nationwide survey from KFF and The Undefeated.

Why it matters: The findings reflect well-founded distrust of government and health care institutions, and they underscore the need for credible outreach efforts when a vaccine is distributed. Otherwise, distribution could fail to effectively reach the Black community, which has been disproportionately affected by coronavirus.

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