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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. is careening toward more than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths a day, and could soon surpass the record set in the spring, The Atlantic reports.

The big picture: Even with treatment advances, a certain portion of people who are infected with the virus will eventually die. When you multiply this percentage by today's number of cases, the results are extremely grim.

Details: Over the last four months, the virus has killed at least 1.5% of Americans diagnosed with it. (The real fatality rate is likely lower, as many cases go undetected.)

  • "[P]redicting the virus's death toll in the near term has become a matter of brutal arithmetic: 150,000 cases a day, times 1.5 percent, will lead to 2,250 daily deaths," The Atlantic writes.
  • In April, the seven-day average of daily deaths hit a peak of 2,116.
  • It takes weeks for the number of deaths to reflect today's number of cases.

Between the lines: Part of the reason the death rate appears to have fallen drastically since the spring is that we're testing so many more people, including those with mild infections.

  • And while treatments have improved, good care is dependent on health care workers being available to give it. But hospitals across the country are becoming overwhelmed by the virus and suffering from staffing shortages.

What we're watching: Within the next month, significantly more Americans are likely to die every two days than died on 9/11. It's unclear whether that will be enough to cause the country to change direction.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.