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Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, Census Bureau; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Daily coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday, when roughly 2,800 people died from the virus.

The big picture: Caseloads and hospitalizations continue to rise, and deaths are spiking in states all across the country.

By the numbers: The states with the highest death tolls from the virus, adjusted for population, are still the ones that were hit hard by the first wave of infections in the spring.

  • New York saw 38.9 deaths per 1 million people in April, followed by New Jersey (37.5) and Connecticut (33.4).
  • But more states are now catching up to those totals.
  • North and South Dakota, which saw surges in the fall, recorded 24.1 and 30.4 daily deaths in November — the fourth and fifth highest state peaks to date.
  • Twelve states and Puerto Rico have hit new daily death records just this week.

What's happening: As Americans continue to disregard mitigation strategies and become infected in record numbers, hospitals around the country are facing staff shortages, meaning the quality and availability of treatment is decreasing.

  • And while there are promising new pharmaceutical treatments on the market, there's not nearly enough for everyone.
  • That means that death rates can get as high as we let them, and in many states, they're currently trending in the wrong direction.

The bottom line: At this point, there's no good reason to think that America is going to control the virus, meaning that thousands of lives are on the line every day until a vaccine is widely available to vulnerable populations.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 23, 2021 - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Latest James Bond movie release delayed for third time

An advertisement poster featuring Daniel Craig in the new James Bond movie "No Time to Die" in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

The release of the latest James Bond film, "No Time to Die," has been postponed for the third time as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate Hollywood.

The state of play: The film's release, initially scheduled for April 2020, was first postponed to November 2020, and then to April 2021. MGM said this week that movie's global debut will now be delayed until Oct. 8.

Jan 23, 2021 - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.