Cook County Jail inmates vote in the Illinois primary election on March 7. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago's Cook County jail is the largest-known source of coronavirus infections in the U.S., the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Several state-run jails — including the Cook County facility — have released prisoners to fight the spread of virus between inmates who live in overcrowded and often unsanitary spaces.

By the numbers: Illinois has reported close to 500 deaths from COVID-19 — one of the highest rates in the country outside New York — with most cases located in Chicago or surrounding counties.

  • At least 353 COVID-19 cases can be traced back to the jail, according to the Times — but since most of the jail's 5,000 inmates have not been tested, corrections officers say that more cases are likely.
  • 238 inmates and 115 staff members have tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday, per the Times.

Background: The White House coronavirus task force is tracking cases in Chicago's metro area out of concerns of exponential growth, response coordinator Deborah Birx said on Tuesday.

Go deeper: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons to enter 14-day quarantine

Go deeper

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,092,855 — Total deaths: 736,254 Total recoveries — 12,350,879Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,094,565 — Total deaths: 163,465 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."
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Trump whisked out of press briefing after shooting outside White House

President Trump was escorted out of a coronavirus press briefing by a Secret Service agent on Monday evening after law enforcement reportedly shot an armed suspect outside of the White House.

What's new: The 51-year-old suspect approached a uniformed Secret Service officer on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the White House, and said he had a weapon, the agency alleged in a statement late Monday. He "ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew the object from his clothing."

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Protests in Belarus turn deadly following sham election

Belarus law enforcement officers guard a street during a protest on Monday night. Police in Minsk have fired rubber bullets for a second night against protesters. Photo: Natalia Fedosenko/TASS via Getty Image

Protesters and security forces have been clashing across Belarus overnight in a second night of protests that has left at least one person dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested.

Why it matters: Sunday’s rigged presidential elections have yielded political uncertainty unlike any seen in Aleksander Lukashenko’s 26-year tenure. After claiming an implausible 80% of the vote, Lukashenko is using every tool in the authoritarian arsenal to maintain his grip on power.